USDA Declares Biggest Disaster In Agency’s History As Crops Dwindle
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has named 1,000 counties in 26 states as natural-disaster areas after drought conditions swept through most of the Midwest this spring and summer.
With 1,016 counties under natural-disaster nearly one-third of the countries farmers are now eligible for low-interest loans meant to help them weather the lack of crops, wildfires and other natural disasters. The USDA given the grand scale of the drought is also expected to more quickly process any claims raised by farmers and reduce penalties for grazers who allow their livestock to graze on conservation land. The low-interest loans are expected to cost the U.S. government $4 million.
The declaration also covers the Southwest which has been hit with wildfires and the southern and eastern parts of the Corn Built, specifically in Illinois and Indiana. Iowa, the largest grain producer in the United States has not been as greatly affected.
The USDA claims that as of July 8 approximately 40 percent of the U.S. corn crop was in good or excellent condition, down from 48 percent during the same time period in 2011 and the lowest since the drought of 1988.
Many states are expected to once again witness 90+ degree temperatures once again over the coming week.