Santa Clara County is among 27 counties that the United States Department of Agriculture has designated a “primary natural disaster area” because of current drought conditions, a county supervisor said Thursday afternoon.
That means county farm operators are eligible for federal assistance, including emergency loans, said Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese in a press release
The designation by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vislack was made just days after Cortese called on county administrators to conduct an analysis of current drought conditions with short- and long-term solutions to lessen the impact on residents, farmers and businesses.
California is in a third year of drought with little rainfall well into the winter season when precipitation is needed to sustain crops and vineyards.
Cortese also sent a letter to Governor Jerry Brown expressing his concern about drought conditions and offering the county as a site for hearings on the drought’s impact on rural and urban areas.
“California is experiencing one of the driest winters on record following two years of winters without adequate rain and snow,” Cortese said. “The drought designation will help our residents in rural areas of the county who have been hardest hit.”
The analysis requested by Cortese will be heard by the Housing, Land Use, Environment and Transportation Committee at the Feb. 20 meeting beginning at 10 a.m. at the County Government Center, 70 West Hedding St. in San Jose.
Farm operators interested in federal aid should contact the local Farm Service Agency, 2337 Technology Parkway, Hollister, CA, at 831-639-4360.