The U.S. Department of Agriculture is designating six New Mexico counties and one in Texas as natural disaster areas due to drought. The designations of Dona Ana, Grant, Hidalgo, Luna, Otero and Sierra counties in New Mexico and Texas' El Paso County means farmers and ranchers in those counties are eligible for natural disaster assistance.
That aid primarily consists of low-interest loans from the Farm Service Agency.
The federal drought map released Thursday shows nearly two-thirds of New Mexico are dealing with severe drought conditions or worse. The northeastern corner of the state and an area in the Bootheel have been hit the hardest.
Still, conditions aren't as bad as they were at this time last year, when extreme to exceptional drought covered about half of the state.
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