It's official: Drought covers all of Arizona - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

It's official: Drought covers all of Arizona

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PHOENIX (CBS5) -

Consider Arizona a "dry state."

The U.S. Department of Agriculture this week declared six of Arizona's 15 counties natural disaster areas for drought.

Gov. Jan Brewer on Wednesday was informed by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack the designation now also covers Apache, Cochise, Coconino, Gila, Graham, Greenlee, La Paz, Maricopa, Mohave, Navajo and Yavapai counties.

Cochise Gila, Graham, LaPaz and Maricopa counties were designated contiguous counties.

The federal designation is based on agricultural production losses, according to the Arizona Department of Agriculture.

Farmers and ranchers in those 11 counties will have eight months to apply for the federal low-interest emergency loans.

Pima, Pinal, Santa Cruz and Yuma counties were eligible starting late last month.

"This announcement is great news for Arizona farmers. The extreme drought creates a host of issues for our agricultural partners including significant land damage and financial losses," said Jack Peterson, interim director for the Arizona Department of Agriculture. "No matter what the weather forecast is, we have a significant hill to climb to emerge from this drought."

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