(CN) - Farmers in the 256 counties nationwide designated as natural disaster areas for drought can apply for emergency relief from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The Agricultural Act of 2014 allows farmers and ranchers who qualify to receive low-interest emergency loans through USDA's Farm Service Agency.
Areas in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Nevada, Oklahoma, Texas and Utah have been designated as natural disaster areas due to drought.
The 256 counties affected account for 8 percent of the nation's 3,144 counties, though a larger percentage of its land area because Western counties tend to be bigger than those farther east.
The $1 trillion farm bill also cut the food stamp program by $8 billion, while providing a $200 million increase in financing for food banks.
The five-year bill also eliminated subsidy payments hand to farmers whether or not they grow crops, strengthened crop insurance and supported small businesses and beginning farmers with training and access to capital.
"This farm bill represents the most significant reform to our farm policy in history. As an almond farmer in the Central Valley, I know firsthand how crucial this bipartisan legislation is in giving certainty to our agricultural industry," California Congressman Jeff Denham said after the bill was signed into law.
Read the Top 8
Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.