This will likely come as no surprise to most of those living in Inyo and Mono counties. On March 19, AgnetWest.com posted a story on U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack designating 50 of 58 counties in California as being primary natural disaster areas because of recent drought conditions.
Secretary Vilsack sent a letter to Governor Gavin Newsom, indicated that the classification of a natural disaster was based on readings from the U.S. Drought Monitor. We are far from alone. Large parts across the country are suffering from drought conditions as a result of climate change. Fifty counties in California suffered severe drought for at least 8 weeks, or experienced extreme or exceptional drought at any time. And if last year is any indication, we may be in for a very serious wildfire season again, similar to last year’s devastating wildfires.
California and contiguous states have been designated as disaster areas by the disaster declaration by Vilsack, with all of California considered natural disaster areas because of the drought.
The importance of the official declaration is that farmers and ranchers are will be eligible for assistance programs through the Farm Service Agency. According to AgWestNet.com, producers need to apply for assistance within eight months of the disaster declaration.