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Jan 31, 2012 1:56 PM by Greg Boyce

Drought aid offered to farmers in 10 counties

DENVER (AP) - Farmers in 10 counties in east-central Colorado can apply for emergency loans and other help under a drought disaster designation.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said Monday that Lincoln County was designated the primary disaster area, and that qualifying farmers in nine adjacent counties could apply for the same benefits.

The contiguous counties are Arapahoe, Cheyenne, Crowley, Elbert, El Paso, Kiowa, Kit Carson, Pueblo and Washington.

USDA said the Farm Service Agency will consider the extent of losses, available security and ability to repay in deciding whether farmers qualify for loans.

Democratic Sen. Mark Udall says the assistance can help rural families make ends meet and recoup some of their drought losses.

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