All of Arizona’s 15 counties are now designated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as natural disaster areas for drought, making farmers and ranchers eligible for federal low-interest emergency loans.
The latest designation by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack covers Apache, Cochise, Coconino, Gila, Graham, Greenlee, La Paz, Maricopa, Mohave, Navajo and Yavapai counties.
The other four counties — Pima, Pinal, Santa Cruz and Yuma — were eligible starting late last month.
The state Agriculture Department says the federal designation is based on agricultural production losses.
It says eligible farm operators have eight months to apply for the loans.