On January 23, the US Department of Agriculture granted a Secretarial disaster designation for the primary counties of Butte, Colusa, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Lassen, Marin, Mendocino, Napa, Nevada, Orange Placer, Plumas, San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Solano, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity, Yolo, Yuba, and the contiguous counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Del Norte, El Dorado, Los Angeles, Monterey, Riverside, Sacramento, San Benito,San Bernardino, San Diego, San Francisco, and Santa Clara.

This designation is a result of the final rule announced for the USDA Disaster Designation Process (7CFR 759), which includes the nearly automatic approval for counties with drought intensity levels of D2 (for 8 consecutive weeks), D3, and D4 as reported on the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Assistance made available by designation:

  • Emergency farm loans for actual losses as a direct result of the disaster
  • Up to a maximum of $500, 000

Who may apply:  Farmers and ranchers who conduct family sized farming operations

Application Deadline:  23 September 2014

How to apply:

  • Contact Lassen-Plumas Sierra Farm Service Agency (FSA) representative Debi Michaels at 530-257-1427
  • Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information should contact USDA's TARGET Center at 1-202-720-2600 (voice and TDD)

Additional Information:  

USDA disaster website 

Also available for assistance are the following: 

Plumas-Sierra Ag Commissioner

The drought declaration designation is for the 2014 crop year and enables farmers to access low interest loans through the federal farm loan program.

Inquiries about this program should be directed to:

Plumas-Sierra Ag Commissioner at 530-283-6365 or email Plumas-Sierra Ag Commissioner.

University of California Cooperative Extension, Plumas-Sierra Counties

UC Cooperative Extension is leading efforts to educate and assist ranchers with grazing, herd management, livestock water and other drought considerations.

Visit their site at UC Cooperative Extension

Contact: Holly George at 530-283-6270 or email Holly George

Natural Resource Conservation Service

Natural Resource Conservation Service plans to offer financial assistance for hauled water or drilling wells for livestock watering. On February 4, NRCS announced funding is available to help agricultural operators use water more efficiently, and stabilize fallowed cropland.

Funds are available statewide to install a number of conservation practices including irrigation efficiency, cover crops, rehabilitation of existing spring developments, protection of grazing lands, and other supporting components. Application deadline is March 3.

Email Dan Martynn or call at 530-283-7511 United States Forest Service (USFS)

USFS reports reduced forage will lead to reduced (if any) grazing allotments.

They are also investigating placement of water storage tanks for both fire suppression and stock water use.

Contact: Deb Bumpas District Ranger (Mohawk District PNF) 530-836-2575 or

Quentin Youngblood District Ranger (Sierraville District TNF) 530-994-3401.

Department of Water Resources (DWR)

Surface water deliveries (Sierra and Indian Valleys) will be started on March 15. No surplus water is anticipated. Unless things dramatically improve, only first water rights holders will be fulfilled.

Contact the local DWR water master.

Sierra Valley Groundwater Management District (SVGMD)

Sierra Valley Groundwater Management District reports substantial water level drawdown on their monitoring well network. With early pumping expected, there is growing concern that some wells may go dry by later summer.

Contact: SVGMD at (530) 994-3706 or at emailEmail SVGMD