WASHINGTON, D.C. — Wasatch County farmers are eligible for disaster assistance as the U.S. Department of Agriculture has designated the county as a primary natural disaster area due to recent drought.

Farmers and ranchers in Duchesne, Salt Lake, Summit and Utah counties also qualify for assistance because they border Wasatch County.

“Our hearts go out to those Utah farmers and ranchers affected by recent natural disasters,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “President Obama and I are committed to ensuring that agriculture remains a bright spot in our nation’s economy by sustaining the successes of America’s farmers, ranchers and rural communities through these difficult times.

"We’re also telling Utah producers that USDA stands with you and your communities when severe weather and natural disasters threaten to disrupt your livelihood.”

All five counties were designated natural disaster areas last week, making all qualified farm operators in the designated areas eligible for low interest emergency loans from USDA’s Farm Service Agency.

Farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of the declaration, which was July 16, to apply for loans to help cover part of their actual losses.

Additional programs available to assist farmers and ranchers include the Emergency Conservation Program, The Livestock Forage Disaster Program, the Livestock Indemnity Program, the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program, and the Tree Assistance Program.

Interested farmers can contact local USDA service centers for further information on eligibility requirements and application procedures. Additional information is available at disaster.fsa.usda.gov.