- Associated Press - Thursday, October 1, 2015

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain says the U.S. Department of Agriculture has declared nine parishes as disaster areas due to recent drought.

He said Thursday that Natchitoches (NAK-uh-tesh) Parish is the primary disaster area. Bienville, DeSoto, Grant, Rapides, Red River, Sabine, Vernon and Winn were named because they’re adjacent to Natchitoches Parish.

Sept. 16 declarations named Bienville Parish among 10 primary drought disaster areas, and Red River and Winn parishes among 11 adjacent disaster areas. DeSoto, Grant, Rapides, Sabine and Vernon parishes were not on the earlier lists.

Eligible farmers and ranchers in both primary and contiguous parishes can get low-interest emergency loans from the Farm Service Agency. They have eight months from the Sept. 30 declaration date to apply.

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