LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The U.S. Department of Agriculture has designated 12 Arkansas counties as natural disaster areas due to losses caused by heavy rain, flooding and high winds Since April 1.

Thursday’s designation by the USDA qualifies farmers in a dozen Arkansas counties for low interest emergency loans from USDA’s Farm Service Agency. Farmers in those counties have eight months from the date of the declaration to apply for loans to help cover part of actual losses.

The counties are Carroll, Clay, Craighead, Independence, Jackson, Lawrence, Lincoln, Madison, Prairie, Randolph, White and Woodruff.

In addition to the emergency loan program, the FSA has a variety of other programs to help eligible farmers recover from adversity. Other programs that do not require a disaster declaration can also provide assistance to eligible farmers and ranchers.