On August 15, the USDA designated four Louisiana parishes and seven contiguous parishes natural disaster areas as a result of the drought.

Morehouse, Richland, Union and West Carroll parishes are declared primary natural disaster areas. The seven parishes named as contiguous disaster areas are: Caldwell, Claiborne, East Carroll, Franklin, Lincoln, Madison and Ouachita.

Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M., said, “It’s unfortunate that our farmers need this type of assistance, but we are grateful it exists. You can’t control Mother Nature, but we are glad to seeour farmers get the assistance they need to alleviate some of the hardship.”

The USDA reports 63 percent of the nation’s hay acreage and about 73 percent of cattle acreage are in areas experiencing drought. About 87 percent of the U.S. corn and 85 percent of the soybeans are included in the drought areas.

A federal disaster designation makes farm operators in primary and contiguous areas eligible to be considered for certain assistance from the Farm Service Agency (FSA), provided eligibility requirements are met. This assistance includes low interest FSA emergency loans.

Farmers and ranchers can get more information from their local FSA offices.