The drought-stricken Piscataquis River as seen from the Essex Street bridge in September 2020. Credit: Ernie Clark / BDN

Piscataquis, Sagadahoc and Somerset counties have been declared primary natural disaster areas by Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue due to the ongoing drought.

This means that the Farm Service Agency can give emergency credit to farmers affected by drought. These emergency loans can be used to pay debt, replace equipment or reorganize your farming operation, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Farmers in all contiguous counties — Androscoggin, Aroostook, Cumberland, Franklin, Kennebec, Lincoln, Penobscot and Waldo — can apply for loans as well. The deadline for applications is June 15, 2021.

Farmers should contact their local USDA office for information on how to apply and eligibility requirements.