Hundreds Gather for Water Rally

Taylor Hillman General

Water Rally
Hundreds of people from around California gathered on the steps of the capitol building Thursday to demand action in the state’s water crisis. AgNet West Farm News Director Sabrina Hill was there and has this report.
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Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated 27 of California’s 58 counties as natural disaster areas due to damages and losses caused by extreme drought. The 27 designated counties include:

Contra Costa
El Dorado
Los Angeles
Santa Clara
San Benito
San Bernardino
San Joaquin
San Luis Obispo
Santa Barbara

Agricultural operators in all counties designated as natural disaster areas may qualify for low interest emergency (EM) loans from USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA). Counties that are contiguous to the primary disaster counties declared also qualify for USDA natural disaster assistance. The agency will consider each loan application on its own merits, taking into account the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability. The maximum amount for an EM loan is $500,000.

“Just about everyone in California agriculture has been negatively affected by drought this year,” said Val Dolcini, Farm Service Agency State Executive Director. “California’s diverse farmers and ranchers of all sizes and backgrounds have experienced drought conditions and water shortages and may find help at FSA offices.”

Farmers and ranchers in designated counties have eight months from the date of the declaration to apply for the EM loan to help cover part of their actual losses. To verify the deadline for application in your area, contact your county’s Farm Service Agency Office. You can visit to get the location of all FSA offices in any state.

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has conservation-related disaster assistance to protect soil, water and habitat ( Small, non-farming businesses in USDA disaster-designated counties may be eligible for disaster assistance from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) ( For a comprehensive online source for all federal disaster assistance, visit

The Farm Service Agency’s Emergency Conservation Program may also help restore conversation-related farm property and facilities. And the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program is available for producers who have enrolled in this annual protection program prior to the deadline earlier this year. For further information, contact your local USDA Service Center regarding all program eligibility requirements and application procedures. Additional information is also available online at