USDA Declares Natural Disaster In Graham County After Farmers Lose Crops To Hail

By Casey Kuhn
Published: Tuesday, November 15, 2016 - 5:49pm
Updated: Tuesday, November 15, 2016 - 5:54pm
(Courtesy Julie Murphree - National Weather Service in Tucson)
Cotton crops were ruined by hail that smashed into the bolls.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) declared Graham County in southeastern Arizona a primary natural disaster area this week.

Huge hail storms smashed into cotton crops in southeastern Arizona, completely destroying acres of farm field.

By designating Graham County a primary natural disaster area, local farmers are eligible for low-interest loans from the farm service agency to recover losses.

Solomon farmer Mark Claridge said he lost $1,200 per acre of cotton ruined.

“You really put it all on the line every year to make a living and you try to insure and try to grow a good crop and sometimes, despite of your best efforts you’re going to take a loss, there’s no guarantees here,” he said.

Claridge said it was the biggest hail storm he’s ever seen in the area.

“Even the old-timers that are my neighbors say they haven’t seen this big of an area being affected," Claridge said. "These kind of storms aren’t penciled in.”

Graham County farmers and farmers in neighboring counties can apply for the low-interest USDA loans to offset crop damages and losses.

If you like this story, Donate Now!

Like Arizona Science Desk on Facebook