Feds declare nearly all Colorado counties disaster areas
DENVER — The fire risk and drought conditions are so severe in Colorado that the federal government has declared nearly every county in the state a disaster area.
That means those affected, including farmers, will be able to apply for emergency loans.
“This will allow folks in rural communities who have been impacted and affected by these fires and the dry conditions to obtain assistance in the form of emergency loans if that will be some help and assistance,” said Tom Vilsack, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.
In places like Weld County, the drought is so bad some farmers have had to give up on parts of their crops. This federal assistance could help.
“It’s better than nothing,” said Glen Fritzler of Fritzler Farms in La Salle. “I’m sure there’s a lot of people who will be able to put it to good use.”
But Fritzler would rather have water than a loan. He and other farmers want to be able to tap more into the old wells on their property.
The state courts have essentially shut down the wells out of concern they were draining waterways and taking water from people downstream.
The Weld County Commissioners asked the governor, and now those people with senior water rights to make an exception this year. But so far there has been no change.
Farmers say the drought will affect all of us. If crops die, prices at the supermarket will go up. But the Secretary of Agriculture hopes there are enough crops nationwide, to keep prices in check.