Federal agriculture officials Monday declared drought disasters in nearly all Maryland counties, making farmers there eligible for emergency loans and other assistance from the USDA Farm Service Agency.
The declarations recognize crop losses of 30 percent or more in 22 counties in the wake of drought and one of the hottest summers on record. Harford County and Baltimore City did not suffer such losses, but farm operators there who meet certain requirements are eligible for consideration because they are adjacent to counties that did.
Gov. Martin O'Malley thanked U.S. Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack for granting the state's request for aid, saying he hoped it would "provide relief to the farmers who need it and help them prepare for the upcoming growing season."