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PHOENIX -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture has granted a disaster designation to six Arizona counties hit hard by drought damage in recent years.

The funding to help farmers and landowners in Maricopa, Yavapai, Coconino, La Paz, Mohave and Gila counties was announced Wednesday by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer.

With the federal designation, farm operators in the six counties now are eligible to apply for low-interest emergency loans from the Farm Service Agency.

A similar disaster designation was issued last month for Apache, Gila, Graham, Greenlee Navajo, Pima and Pinal counties.

That leaves just Santa Cruz and Cochise counties awaiting eligibility for federal funding.

Eligible farm operators in the affected areas have eight months in which to apply for low-interest emergency loans from the FSA.

Associated Press,

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