Number of Disaster Designated Counties Tops 1,300
The number of U.S. counties designated as primary natural disaster areas due to damage and losses caused by drought and excessive heat has now topped 13-hundred counties in 31 states. More than 12-hundred of those designations are a result of the drought. All qualified farm operators in these areas are eligible for low-interest emergency loans. The tally climbed as Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack designated 76 additional counties in six states as disaster areas. The U.S. Drought Monitor is currently reporting that two-thirds of the continental U.S. is in a moderate to exceptional drought. Vilsack says as USDA officials are visiting drought-stricken areas to stand with producers and rural communities - the urgency for Congress to pass a food, farm and jobs bill is greater than ever. He says the hardworking Americans who produce our food and fiber, feed for our livestock and contribute to a home-grown energy policy need action now.
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