BOISE -- Federal officials have designated five Idaho counties as natural disaster areas due to recent drought conditions.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Wednesday declared that Butte, Clark, Custer, Jefferson and Washington counties qualified for federal assistance.
The designation means farmers in those counties are now eligible for low interest emergency loans from the USDA's Farm Service Agency.
Farmers have eight months to apply for loans to help pay for financial losses.
State water officials had already made drought emergency declarations in most of those counties.
Surrounding counties to the designated five counties also qualify for federal assistance. Those counties include Adams, Bingham, Blaine, Boise, Bonneville, Elmore, Fremont, Gem, Lemhi, Madison, Payette and Valley.