Drought Help

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Gov. Owens is asking for a federal disaster designation in six southeastern Colorado counties being hit hard by the state's continuing drought. Those counties include Baca, Bent, Elbert, Kiowa, Lincoln and Prowers.

Owens argues in a letter to federal agriculture officials, that damage assessments from the counties demonstrate substantial losses to crops and livestock forage as a result of the drought.

Colorado's current drought began in 2000 and is ongoing despite this year's cooler, wetter weather.

Owens says crop damage due to high winds and drought are pervasive throughout the southeast part of the state and farmers and ranchers face substantial economic losses.

A federal disaster designation could help make farmers eligible for low interest emergency loans from the Farm Service Agency. It also would allow farmers and ranchers to use Conservation Reserve Program lands for grazing.