Even before this year's drought starts taking its toll on the agriculture production areas of the western United States, a toll has already been made for the last part of the year 2000.
The USDA has declared counties in Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Colorado eligible for emergency farm loans due to weather-related causes last year.
In Oregon, Klamath County has been declared for losses incurred by drought. Also eligible are contiguous counties, Deschutes, Douglas, Jackson, Lake and Lane Counties. This designation was issued April 18.
In Idaho seven counties have been declared eligible because of drought. They include Butte, Bonneville, Bingham, Custer, Lemhi, Jefferson, Clark and Blaine.
In Colorado, Cheyenne County has been designated because of drought. In Montana 12 counties were declared because of frost and hail.
The designation makes all qualified farm operators eligible for low-interest EM loans from the Farm Service Agency.