Most farmers in the Central Valley have had to deal with extreme drought the past several years. As California is the nation’s number one food supplier, the federal government is stepping in to help growers seek federal loans. There are some important points to this program that growers should know.
- All counties are eligible for loans. 50 counties in California are listed as primary disaster areas while 8 are listed as contiguous counties. The contiguous counties means that they didn’t hit the drought threshold at the time but are located adjacent to primary disaster areas.
- California residents want the governor to declare a state of emergency. Many lawmakers understand that the drought has hit rural communities hard and want the governor to issue a statewide drought emergency declaration.
- The loans can make a difference for farmers. The 2021 growing season is predicted to include sharp cuts in water this year. Farmers can be eligible for a loan of up to $500,000.
- The USDA has declared 50 California counties as being “primary natural disaster areas” due to drought. This declaration allows struggling farmers to apply for these loans available to them.
- The decision was automatic. The USDA looks at how much water California has been lacking in recent years. Rain and snow is half of average and the snowpack on California mountains is well below normal. Along with the two major reservoirs at half their capacity. The watchdog group, the US Drought Monitor, has created a map of California showing that conditions are exceptionally dry to exceptional drought. This has provided an almost automatic disaster declaration for California.
With California facing such extreme environmental conditions farmers have had to be even more conscious of California water laws. An attorney who specializes in agricultural law can help their client with their issues facing environmental regulations.