Douglas County has been declared a disaster area because of the 1989 drought, but local agriculture officials have not been told what that will mean to area farmers.
Gov. Mike Hayden announced Thursday that Douglas was one of 71 Kansas counties designated as disaster areas. The designations were made by U.S. Agriculture Secretary Clayton Yeutter.
Yeutter's action makes qualifying farmers in those counties eligible for Farmer's Home Administration emergency loan assistance. The disaster declaration was based on crop losses caused by drought and adverse weather.
But Dean Altenhofen, supervisor of the Douglas County FmHA office, said this morning that he had not yet received official word of the disaster declarations or been told how his office will assist farmers affected by the action.
ALTENHOFEN said that information might take 30 days to reach his office. Such information originates in Washington, D.C., and filters down to the county level through state offices.
"We read a lot of things in the newspaper before we know anything about it," he said.
Altenhofen's office and other local agriculture agencies submitted data to state and federal agriculture officials concerning the effects of the drought. The information included statistics on poor area crop yields because of the drought and other weather conditions.
Hayden said Thursday that the disaster declarations were a clear and accurate sign of the state's agriculture situation.
``This is further evidence that the adverse weather conditions facing Kansas farmers are continuing to have a detrimental effect on our crops and our economy,'' Hayden said.
KANSAS counties that have been designated disaster areas because of the drought are: Atchison, Barber, Barton, Brown, Butler, Cheyenne, Clark, Clay, Cloud, Comanche, Decatur, Dickinson, Doniphan, Douglas, Edwards, Ellis, Ellsworth, Ford, Geary, Graham, Gray, Harper, Harvey and Haskell.
Hodgeman, Jackson, Jefferson, Jewell, Kingman, Kiowa, Lincoln, McPherson, Marion, Marshall, Meade, Mitchell, Morris, Morton, Nemaha, Ness, Norton, Osborne, Ottawa, Pawnee, Phillips, Pottawatomie and Pratt.
Rawlins, Reno, Republic, Rice, Riley, Rooks, Rush, Russell, Saline, Sedgwick, Seward, Shawnee, Sheridan, Smith, Stafford, Stanton, Stevens, Thomas, Trego, Wabaunsee and Washington.
In addition, the following counties have been designated disaster areas because of excessive rainfall, hail, high winds and flooding: Chautauqua, Lincoln, Mitchell, Montgomery, Rawlins and Sherman.