Disaster loans available for Colusa County farmers
Disaster relief loans are available through the county Farm Service Agency offices. For more information, call 934-4669.
Colusa County farmers impacted by the drought are now eligible for emergency disaster loans through the US Department of Agriculture.
However, it is doubtful there will be many if any takers.
"The only crop that we have had impacted so far is the rangelands," said Denise Nannen, with the Farm Service Agency is Colusa County.
And specifically, the unirrigated, native rangelands in the foothills are the issue.
County Agriculture Commissioner Joe Domiano said that could have some impact on cattle ranchers, but to qualify for the loan, they would have to show at least a 30 percent loss.
In this case, Domiano explained, it would likely be the result of having to pay for more feed because the drought has reduced the natural grassland stock.
Colusa County did not apply for disaster county status.
It qualified because it is contiguous to Glenn County, which is one of nearly a dozen California counties that qualified under emergency conditions in early September.
Tehama County is another.
Shaleen Hogan, farm loan manager for the Farm Service Agency in Red Bluff, said rangeland in western Glenn County is the primary issue there, too.
Not only is the concern losses because of drought alone, but because drought caused conditions that were susceptible to the wildfires that hit the area.
Still, there have been no applications filed for loan relief, and Glenn County officials, like their Colusa County counterparts, are not sure if they will get any.
Colusa County experienced five wildfires this summer, though the largest — the 29,000-acre Mill Fire — was largely in the Mendocino National Forest and in an area that would have little or no impact on crop losses.
The others, however, seared open grasslands in the foothills.
What impact that had is unknown, and county officials do not think it will amount to much.
The application period is open through May 6, 2013. There are a number of other qualifications, including the inability to obtain credit elsewhere.