The U.S. Department of Agriculture has declared most of Arizona a primary natural disaster area due to drought conditions. It comes as farmers in the region grapple with dry weather projected to continue through the spring. KNAU’s Justin Regan has more.
The USDA has made the designation for all but one county in the state. That’s an increase from last year when 5 Arizona counties were considered primary natural disaster areas. Under the designation, farmers can apply for emergency loans and debt relief.
According to a federal study, drought in the region is expanding with most of the state and the Colorado Plateau in either a severe or extreme drought. State officials say it’s one of the driest years on record, although they aren’t expecting any water cuts from the Colorado River in the near future.
LaPaz remains the only Arizona county to not be declared a primary natural disaster area. But because it neighbors disaster areas, its farmers still have access to federal assistance.