The U.S. Department of Agriculture is offering loans for Arizona farmers and ranchers who are at a financial loss because of the state’s ongoing drought.
The loans are available for farmers and ranchers in all 15 Arizona counties.
The lack of water can drive up costs and drive down profits, said Don Butler, director of the Arizona Department of Agriculture.
“They’ve got to haul water," Butler said. "They’ve got to supplement the feed because there just isn’t any feed so they’ve got to buy hay. A lot of them have had to liquidate their herds, their cattle.”
Arizona farmers and ranchers have also been eligible for past loans to get though droughts, he said.
“I would imagine some ranchers have got two or three loans on these things," he said.
The loans are granted to ranchers and farmers in counties experiencing extreme drought and in contiguous counties. Five Arizona counties are directly affected, and the other 10 are either neighboring those five or neighboring California and Utah counties that also have disaster designation because of drought.
Arizonans have eight months to apply for the loans. The Department of Agriculture can help determine who is eligible at its Southern Arizona service centers in Sells, Green Valley, Willcox, Douglas and Tucson.
Application forms are also available online to be printed and filled out before visiting a service center.