September 18, 2008

Eastern Colorado in Drought

The U.S. Agriculture Department has designated 22 Colorado counties as "primary natural disaster areas" because of persistent drought conditions.

The affected region extends roughly from Interstate 25 east to the

Kansas border and from the New Mexico border north to Lincoln County, The Denver Post reported Wednesday.

"Southeast Colorado had unprecedented drought in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005. We just had continual drought," said Chuck Hanagan, executive director for the Otero Crowley Farm Service.

The executive directors of Colorado's county farm service agencies say they hope the declaration will help by providing farmers and ranchers with low-interest loans.

Rod Johnson, farm service executive director in Kiowa County, said local fields are parched.

"It looked like the middle of winter in July," Johnson was quoted as saying.