Half of U.S. Counties Now Considered Drought Disaster Areas
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) added 218 counties in a dozen drought-stricken states to the U.S. government’s list of natural disaster areas, bringing the total to more than 50 percent of all U.S. counties. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack also stated that 3.8 million acres of conservation land would be opened to ranchers for haying and grazing, and farmers have been paid to take land out of production to limit erosion and create wildlife habitat. “The assistance announced today will help U.S. livestock producers dealing with climbing feed prices, critical shortages of hay and deteriorating pasture lands,” he said.
Counties added to the list were in Arkansas, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Wyoming.