State Rep. Keith McCall said that farmers in Carbon County are eligible to apply for low-interest emergency disaster assistance loans from the federal Department of Agriculture to help recover crop losses associated with the summer's dry weather.

"The extreme heat and lack of rainfall has had a negative impact on Carbon County's farmers this year, and I'm glad the federal government is making these loans available to help our farm families stay afloat and keep their farms up and running," McCall said. "I hope every farmer affected by the drought conditions will apply for this funding."

Farmers can apply for the loans through the Carbon County Farm Service Agency in Lehighton at (610) 377-6300 or by visiting the department online at www.fsa.usda.gov [1].

Besides Carbon County, 15 other counties in the region were declared primary disaster areas: Bucks, Chester, Dauphin, Franklin, Fulton, Lehigh, Luzerne, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Northumberland, Schuylkill, Snyder, Union and York.

In addition, 22 counties bordering the primary disaster area were named contiguous disaster areas: Adams, Bedford, Berks, Centre, Clinton, Columbia, Cumberland, Delaware, Huntingdon, Juniata, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lycoming, Mifflin, Montour, Perry, Philadelphia, Pike, Sullivan, Wayne and Wyoming.

Farmers in all affected counties have eight months from the Sept. 10 date of disaster declaration to apply for the loans, and each application will be considered based on losses, available resources and ability to repay.