Las Vegas Sun

January 19, 2018

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Disaster relief possible because of drought


CARSON CITY -- Farmers and ranchers in Clark County will suffer an 18 percent to 35 percent loss in production because of the continued drought, a state emergency board says.

The board of the U.S. Agriculture Department met in Reno Monday and suggested the drought was severe enough for Gov. Kenny Guinn to ask for disaster designation from Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman for all of Nevada for the second straight year.

In a letter to the governor, Roger Van Valkenburg, executive director of the federal Farm Service Agency, said the committee "unanimously agreed that the conditions are severe enough to warrant your (Guinn's) requesting a disaster designation from the secretary of agriculture due to losses caused by drought and related insect damage."

Van Valkenburg said that if Guinn makes the request, he expected the secretary to act within a month. The drought designation would permit farmers and ranchers to apply for low-interest loans of up to $500,000 each if they have suffered at least a 30 percent loss in crop production.

The emergency committee found there has been an estimated 35 percent production loss of native pasture and range land in Clark County; an 18 percent loss in grain and mixed forage hay and a 20 percent loss in production of alfalfa hay.

Hardest hit among the counties was Pershing, which is suffering an estimated 70 percent loss of pasture and range production, 100 percent in forage hay and grain and 66 percent in alfalfa hay.