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USDA OKs drought disaster for some AZ counties

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, after meeting with Obama Administration officials regarding the border and immigration, grimaces as she talks about the meeting at the capitol Monday, June 28, 2010. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

A federal agency is backing a request from Gov. Jan Brewer to declare a drought disaster that will help ranchers and farmers.

Brewer’s office says Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack granted her request for a disaster declaration for Coconino, Gila, Maricopa, Pima, Pinal, Yavapai counties. The move lets landowners hit by the ongoing drought apply for federal financial assistance.

The USDA found that production losses in the area are bad enough to trigger the federal help. Farmers have eight months to apply for low-interest emergency loans from the Farm Service Agency and another federal program.

Brewer says in a statement that farmers have suffered serious losses. She praised the Agriculture Department’s decision to help.

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