DALLAS (January 9, 2013)--Nearly two-thirds of the state's 254 counties were declared federal primary natural disaster areas Wednesday from drought and heat in a step toward providing help.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture included 157 Texas counties in the 2013 designation.
Qualified farm operators are eligible for low-interest emergency loans.
National Climate Data Center numbers released Tuesday indicated 2011 and 2012 were the state's warmest two-year span in more than 100 years. Texas had its driest year ever in 2011.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack designated a total of 597 counties in 14 states as primary natural disaster areas due to lingering drought and hot weather.
"As drought persists, USDA will continue to partner with producers to see them through longer-term recovery, while taking the swift actions needed to help farmers and ranchers prepare their land and operations for the upcoming planting season," Vilsack said.
"I will also continue to work with Congress to encourage passage of a Food, Farm and Jobs bill that gives rural America the long-term certainty they need, including a strong and defensible safety net."