Rain chances possible this week

Okla. declared natural disaster area

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OKLAHOMA CITY—While parts of the state are expected to see a few sprinkles tonight, it is not going to affect the drought conditions of the state any time soon.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack designated all 77 counties in Oklahoma as primary natural disaster areas because of the lack of rain and intense heat from last summer.

“The drought situation here in our state is proving to be challenging for all sectors of agriculture,” said Oklahoma Secretary of Agriculture, Jim Reese. “While we are starting 2013 with drought conditions, we are hoping for more favorable weather this year.”

The designation makes all qualified farm operations in the area eligible for low-interest emergency loans.

The emergency loans that are available through the USDA have a 2.15% interest rate and allow producers to access funding resources to help with the cost of production and physical losses.

Farmers can visit the Farm Service Agency office to learn more about the programs and eligibility.

Officials say it covers all growing crops in 2013.

This is the first disaster declaration made by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2013.