OKLAHOMA CITY/ The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) today issued a Secretarial disaster declaration in 69 Oklahoma counties and five contiguous counties. The declaration came in response to a June 10 request by Governor Mary Fallin, who asked the USDA to issue a disaster declaration in order to help farmers hit by drought and wildfires.

Seventy-four Oklahoma counties are currently covered under the USDA declaration. Nowata, Craig and Ottawa counties are not.

According to the USDA, a Secretarial disaster designation makes farmers in designated counties eligible to be considered for federal assistance from the Farm Service Agency (FSA). That assistance includes FSA emergency loans and the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments (SURE) Program. Farmers in designated counties have 8 months from the date of a Secretarial disaster declaration to apply for emergency loan assistance. Farmers interested in requesting additional information should contact their local FSA office.

“The weather has made this an extremely tough year for Oklahoma farmers,” Governor Fallin said. “This declaration will help those who have been hard hit by drought and other bad conditions to get the assistance they need.”