(Bannock County Press Release, April 22, 2022)
The United States Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, designated Bannock County as a contiguous disaster area due to the recent drought affecting the state.
On Monday, April 18, Secretary Vilsack sent a letter to Governor Brad Little designating two Idaho counties as primary disaster areas and five counties as contiguous disaster areas.
Franklin and Oneida counties were named as primary disaster areas. Bear Lake, Caribou, Power, Cassia, and Bannock counties were named contiguous disaster areas because of their proximity to Franklin and Oneida counties. Three Utah counties were also designated as contiguous disaster areas: Box Elder, Cache, and Rich counties.
All of Franklin County, and parts of the surrounding counties, have been designated as Extreme Drought areas by the U.S. Drought Monitor. Historically, areas with Extreme Drought experience low spring snowpack, increased fires, and impacted agriculture. View the Drought Monitor here: https://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/CurrentMap/StateDroughtMonitor.aspx?ID.
The official designation as primary or contiguous disaster areas makes area farm operators eligible to be considered for assistance from the Farm Service Agency (FSA), which includes emergency loans. Farmers in eligible counties have eight months to apply for emergency loans. Local FSA offices can provide affected farmers with more information. A list of FSA county offices can be found here: https://www.fsa.usda.gov/Internet/FSA_File/id_fsa_state_directory.pdf.
The Bannock County Office of Emergency Management will continue to monitor the region’s drought status.