All of Colorado is considered a ‘primary natural disaster area’, according to the Department of Agriculture

Facing a decades-long mega-drought, Colorado is considered by the federal government to be a primary natural disaster area.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture typically designates individual counties as primary natural disaster zones, releasing emergency funding for farmers, ranchers and more. The drought is so severe across the state that each of Colorado’s 64 counties qualify, the agency announced on Tuesday.

According to National Association of State Departments of Agriculture.

Crop and livestock production has suffered in Colorado since the early 2000s when the drought began. And climate experts say they are concerned about the Eastern Plains – a heavily agricultural region of the state – as spring turns into summer, noting they are at increased risk of wildfires.

Agriculture contributes approximately $47 billion annually to the state’s economy and supports nearly 200,000 jobs. The ongoing drought could cost Colorado’s agriculture industry $511 million by 2050, the Denver Post previously reported.

Colorado did not receive enough snow over the winter to reclaim its dry soils and waterways, exposing the state to potentially disastrous wildfires this summer and fall. At best, parts of the state are considered “abnormally dry” by the US Drought Watch. At worst, the southeast and southwest corners of the state are considered to be experiencing “exceptional drought.”

Denver had its first snowless April in 30 years and the driest in 59 years.

The USDA qualifies individual counties for this type of natural disaster assistance, and this year each of Colorado’s 64 counties meets the agency’s criteria. Adjacent counties in Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming are also eligible.

Colorado and other designated counties suffered from unusually severe drought during the growing season and for an extended period, according to the USDA website. Those applying for loans must apply by Dec. 8, and the money can be used for equipment, livestock, refinancing certain debts or reorganizing farming operations, according to the USDA website.