Drought news: Federal disaster dough available throughout southeastern Colorado

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From the La Junta Tribune-Democrat:

“I’m grateful the USDA is making assistance available to more affected Colorado farmers and ranchers,” [Colorado Senator Mark Udall] said. “This will help our agricultural producers offset some of the heavy losses they’ve experienced because of the drought and spring freezes.”

Counties designated agricultural disaster areas due to drought this year: Bent, Chaffee, Custer, Fremont, Huerfano, Kiowa, Las Animas, Prowers and Pueblo counties, including surrounding Alamosa, Baca, Cheyenne, Costilla, Crowley, El Paso, Gunnison, Lake, Lincoln, Otero, Park, Pitkin, Saguache and Teller counties.

Because of their proximity to and possible losses due to primary drought designations in New Mexico, Archuleta, Baca, Conejos, Costilla and Las Animas counties also became eligible for drought-related assistance.

Additional resources were made available to counties affected by the spring freezes that occurred April 28 through May 1: Fremont County was designated as a primary county, but eligibility extends to the surrounding counties of Chaffee, Custer, El Paso, Park, Pueblo, Saguache and Teller.

From The Pueblo Chieftain (Patrick Malone):

“Drought impacts are resulting in the loss of native grass, mixed forage, cool season grasses and alfalfa throughout the San Luis Valley in south-central Colorado,” Hickenlooper wrote in the letter. “Losses are greatest to cool season grasses reaching 75 percent. The availability of surface water has resulted in many producers having to abandon alfalfa irrigation completely.”

A second letter sought disaster assistance for Delta, Montrose and Mesa counties on the Western Slope, where fruit producers were stung by a freeze in late April and early May. Some producers there suffered losses of 95 percent of their apples and other fruits.

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