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Jul 3, 2012 11:32 PM by Stefanie Boe

Help on the way for parched Colorado

DENVER (AP) - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says 62 of Colorado's 64 counties qualify for federal disaster relief due to drought conditions.

Gov. John Hickenlooper says Vilsack notified him Tuesday that he was designating all of the state's counties, except Delta and San Juan counties, as primary disaster areas. The governor sent a letter to Vilsack last week seeking the drought assistance.

The federal aid includes Farm Service Agency emergency loans, which farmers in eligible counties have eight months from Tuesday to apply for.

A news release from the governor's office says counties typically must meet certain crop loss criteria to qualify for USDA disaster assistance, and once those requirements are met, the governor can then request a disaster designation for that county. But this year's severe conditions forced the special request.

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