WALLA WALLA -- Walla Walla County farmers and ranchers are now eligible for federal loans to help recover from last winter's extreme weather.
The county is among 15 in Washington designated as natural disaster areas due to losses caused by frosts, freezes, extreme cold, high winds and excessive snow between Nov. 10, 2010, through March 25 of this year. Farmers and ranchers in Columbia and Umatilla counties also qualify because they are contiguous with Walla Walla County.
The designation by the U.S. Department of Agriculture was made Oct. 13 and makes farm operators in the listed counties eligible for low-interest emergency loans. Farmers have eight months from the designation date to apply for loans at their local Farm Service Agency office.
Other counties designated as natural disaster areas were Benton, Chelan, Clallam, Douglas, Franklin, Grant, Island, King, Kittitas, Klickitat, Okanogan, Skagit and Yakima.