Rappahannock is among drought disaster areas

Gov. Bob McDonnell announced last week that the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture has designated 59 Virginia counties — including Rappahannock, Fauquier, Culpeper, Page and Warren — as primary natural disaster areas because of decreased farm production caused by drought and excessive heat this summer.

Madison and Loudoun counties and the city of Winchester were also among the 24 counties and 19 cities designated contiguous disaster areas because of their location next to a primary disaster area.

“Excessive heat and drought reduced crop yields in many localities causing farmers hardship and impacting their operations,” Gov. Bob McDonnell said in a news release. “With approval by the USDA, they are now eligible to be considered for assistance by the federal government.”

Disaster declarations allow farm operators to apply for low-interest emergency loans and income assistance from the Farm Service Agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, provided they meet certain eligibility requirements.

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