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October 5, 2009 (Washington D.C.) -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently designated San Diego and Imperial counties as part of a contiguous natural disaster area due to drought that began January 1, 2009, and continues. Farmers have eight months from the date of the USDA declaration – September 17, 2009 – to apply for assistance to help cover their losses.


“I am pleased that the USDA is acknowledging the hardship and heavy financial burden suffered by our farmers and ranchers due to water scarcity,” said Congressman Bob Filner (D-San Diego). “This declaration is a starting point to provide assistance, as the state and federal authorities work to ensure stable water supply.”


The designation from USDA qualifies agricultural producers to apply for low interest Farm Service Agency (FSA) emergency loans and the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Program that was approved as part of the 2008 Farm Bill. Interested farmers and ranchers may contact their local USDA Service Centers for further information on eligibility requirements and application procedures for these and other programs, such as the Emergency Conservation Program, Federal Crop Insurance, and the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program. Additional information is also available online at

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