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Gov. Hickenlooper seeks federal drought assistance

Thursday, June 16, 2011 — Gov. John Hickenlooper sent a letter today to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack requesting drought assistance for Baca, Crowley and Otero counties.

“Colorado’s southern counties are experiencing significant drought resulting in failed grain crops as well as the loss of forage for livestock,” the governor’s letter said.

Baca, Crowley and Otero counties asked Hickenlooper to seek the federal assistance and be declared primary drought disaster areas. The declaration, if approved, would allow farmers and ranchers to apply for emergency loans if they are unable to obtain credit elsewhere.

Drought designation would also enable ranchers who cannot find pasture for their cattle to sell all or part of their herd without having to pay capital gains taxes for five years, giving them time to replenish their herds when pasture is available.