Marshall, St. Joseph, Kosciusko, Elkhart, LaGrange, Pulaski and Fulton counties are included in that designation.
Farm operators in 19 counties, including LaPorte and Starke, also qualify for natural disaster assistance because their counties are contiguous to the designated counties.
All qualified farm operators in the designated areas are eligible for low-interest emergency loans from the Farm Service Agency, provided eligibility requirements are met. Farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of the declaration to apply for loans to help cover part of their actual losses.
The USDA encourages all farmers to contact their crop insurance companies and local FSA offices, as applicable, to report damages to crops or livestock loss. In addition, the USDA reminds livestock producers to keep thorough records of losses, including additional expenses for such things as feed bought because of lost supplies.
Additional resources to help farmers deal with drought may be found at http://www.usda.gov/disaster.