Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014 | 10:13 a.m.
Federal officials have declared nine Nevada counties as primary natural disaster areas because of a drought.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's announcement Wednesday includes Clark, Washoe, Lyon, Nye, Churchill, Lander, Mineral, Pershing, and Humboldt counties.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement that he sympathizes with farmers and ranchers who are dealing with the lack of rain and snow, and assured them that the USDA will stand by them.
The designation means eligible farmers can qualify for low-interest emergency loans from the agriculture department.
Counties adjacent to the nine in Nevada are also eligible for assistance. Those include Douglas, Esmeralda, Lincoln, White Pine, Elko, Eureka, Storey and Carson City.
It also includes Mohave County, Ariz., Owyhee County, Idaho, eight counties in California and three in Oregon.