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USDA Declares Largest-Ever Drought Disaster in 26 States

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has made the largest natural disaster declaration in its history and designated 1,016 counties in 26 states in the Midwest as drought stricken
July 16, 2012

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has made the largest natural disaster declaration in its history and designated 1,016 counties in 26 states in the Midwest as drought stricken. On July 11, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said farmers and ranchers in counties declared as disaster areas, approximately one third of the nation’s counties, are eligible for low interest loans to assist them in managing the drought, wildfires and other disasters. The USDA is also adjusting its procedures to expedite the processing of claims and reducing the penalties on ranchers who allow livestock to graze on land set aside for conservation. Approximately 53 percent of the Midwest, the nation’s primary agricultural area, is currently affected by moderate to extreme drought. Crop price increases are the highest this year among the 24 commodities in the Standard & Poor’s GSCI Spot Index.

The declaration covers counties in the following states: California, Oregon, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Nebraska, Wyoming, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Illinois, Indiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolina, Florida, Delaware and Hawaii.

Read more on the drought across the United States: Disaster Declared in 26 States as Drought Sears U.S. (Bloomberg 7/12/12)