Farmers and ranchers in nearly 60 percent of Mississippi’s counties are now eligible for drought disaster aid, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said.
In a news release Wednesday, USDA named 19 Mississippi counties as primary disaster areas, and 27 as contiguous. Eleven, including two that were not already on Mississippi’s list, are adjacent to drought disaster areas in Louisiana, for a total of 48 out 82 counties.
The department named 25 Louisiana parishes as primary drought disaster areas. Another 16 are eligible because they’re adjacent to those parishes. Eight of those 41 parishes also are contiguous with primary disaster areas in Mississippi.
Mississippi counties now eligible for aid:
Primary: Adams, Amite, Bolivar, Choctaw, Covington, Jasper, Jefferson, Jefferson Davis, Jones, Lamar, Marion, Montgomery, Neshoba, Newton, Pearl River, Pike, Walthall, Wilkinson, Winston.
Contiguous: Attala, Carroll, Claiborne, Clarke, Coahoma, Copiah, Forrest, Franklin, Grenada, Hancock, Harrison, Kemper, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Leake, Lincoln, Noxubee, Oktibbeha, Perry, Scott, Simpson, Smith, Stone, Sunflower, Washington, Wayne, Webster.
Mississippi contiguous to Louisiana primary drought areas and not on other lists: Issaquena, Warren.
Louisiana primary: Allen, Avoyelles, Beauregard, Catahoula, Concordia, East Baton Rouge, East Carroll, East Feliciana, Evangeline, Franklin, Grant, LaSalle, Livingston, Madison, Pointe Coupee, Rapides, Sabine, St Helena, St Landry, Tangipahoa, Tensas, Vernon, Washington, West Carroll, West Feliciana.
Louisiana contiguous: Acadia, Ascension, Calcasieu, Caldwell, De Soto, Iberville, Jefferson Davis, Lafayette, Morehouse, Natchitoches, Richland, St. John the Baptist, St. Martin, St. Tammany, West Baton Rouge, Winn.
Farmers in those areas have eight months to apply for low-interest emergency loans from the Farm Service Agency.
The agency also has other programs to help farmers and ranchers. It said those include 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.