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Another 23 Counties Designated Drought Disaster Areas

Another 23 Counties Designated Drought Disaster Areas

New help announced for livestock producers with changes to emergency loans, crop insurance

August 26th, 2012 by James Limbach of ConsumerAffairs in News

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today designated 33 additional counties in 8 states as natural disaster areas -- 23 counties due to drought. 

In the past six weeks, the Agriculture Department (USDA) has designated 1,821 counties in 35 states as disaster areas -- 1,692 due to drought -- while USDA officials have fanned out to more than a dozen drought-affected states as part of a total U.S. government effort to offer support and assistance to those affected by the drought. 

Help on the way 

In an effort to help farmers, ranchers and businesses hurt by the most severe drought in 50 years, USDA intends to file special provisions with the federal crop insurance program to allow haying or grazing of cover crops without affecting the insurability of planted 2013 spring crops -- a move that can help provide much needed forage and feed this fall and winter for livestock producers. 

In a separate step, Vilsack said he will modify emergency loans, allowing loans to be made earlier in the season helping livestock producers to offset increased feed costs and those who have liquidated herds. 

Crop update 

The U.S. Drought Monitor indicates that 63 percent of the nation's hay acreage is in an area experiencing drought, while approximately 71 percent of the nation's cattle acreage is in an area experiencing drought. 

Approximately 85 percent of the U.S. corn is within an area experiencing drought, down from a peak of 89 percent on July 24, and 83 percent of the U.S. soybeans are in a drought area, down from a high of 88 percent on July 24. On Aug. 10, USDA estimated the 2012 U.S. corn crop to be the eighth largest in history, at roughly 10.8 billion bushels. In 1988, when U.S. farmers were hit by another serious drought, total production was 4.9 billion bushels. 

During the week ending August 19, USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service reported that 51 percent of U.S. corn and 37 percent of the soybeans were rated in very poor to poor condition, while rangeland and pastures rated very poor to poor remained at 59 percent for the third consecutive week. 

New designees 

Primary counties and corresponding states designated as disaster areas for drought and other reasons: 

California [drought] 

  • Alpine 

Georgia [drought] 

  • Forsyth 

  • Hall 

Idaho [drought] 

  • Bannock 

  • Bear Lake 

  • Cassia 

  • Fremont 

  • Oneida 

Idaho [other] 

  • Bannock 

  • Camas 

  • Fremont 

  • Nez Perce 

  • Payette 

  • Bonneville 

  • Cassia 

  • Gem 

  • Oneida 

  • Teton 

Indiana [drought] 

  • Randolph 

Kansas [drought] 

  • Marshall 

Nebraska [drought] 

  • Gage 

  • Johnson 

  • Nuckolls 

  • Richardson 

  • Jefferson 

  • Nemaha 

  • Pawnee 

  • Thayer 

Tennessee [drought] 

  • Dickson 

  • Henderson 

Utah [drought] 

  • Beaver 

  • Iron 

  • Piute