U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has designated 50 counties in California as being primary natural disaster areas because of recent drought conditions. In a letter to Governor Gavin Newsom, Secretary Vilsack indicated that the classification of a natural disaster was based on readings from the U.S. Drought Monitor. According to the findings, 50 counties in California suffered severe drought for at least 8 weeks, or experienced extreme or exceptional drought at any time.
Additional areas of California and surrounding states have also been named as contiguous disaster counties. In total, all areas of California are now considered natural disaster areas due to drought. The designation from Secretary Vilsack means that farmers and ranchers are considered eligible for assistance programs through the Farm Service Agency. Producers will need to apply for assistance within eight months of the disaster declaration.
Listen to radio report below.