NEW ORLEANS (AP) — U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has designated two Louisiana parishes as "primary natural disaster areas" due to excessive rain and flooding that occurred from Sept. 1 through Dec. 12.

A Department of Agriculture news release says that means agriculture producers who suffered heavy disaster-related losses in Lafayette and St. Martin parishes may be eligible for Farm Service Agency emergency loans.

Producers in parishes contiguous to those two parishes also are covered.

The eligible neighboring parishes are Acadia, Assumption, Iberia, Iberville, Pointe Coupee, St. Landry, St. Mary and Vermilion.

The loans can be used to meet various recovery needs. Those include replacement of equipment or livestock, reorganization of a farming operation or the refinance of debts.

The deadline to apply for the emergency loans is Nov. 22.

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