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55 Counties Labeled Natural Disaster Areas By USDA

The USDA has declared 55 counties in Indiana natural disaster areas because of the lack of rain.

  • Indiana Farm

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    Farmers in Indiana are struggling because of a lack of rain.

  • Map

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    Photo: Information from USDA

    Fifty five counties in Indiana have been named primary or contiguous natural disaster areas. Farmers can receive certain USDA loans depending on which county they are in.

More than half of Indiana’s 92 counties have been designated natural disaster areas by the federal government as drought continues to cripple the state’s crops. Fifty-five counties in Indiana, located largely in the northeast and southwest areas of the state, were labeled natural disaster areas by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

This will make low-interest emergency loans available to farmers who qualify based on how much of their crops are lost. The disaster designations came early than expected.

The state was preparing to request the federal help, but U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack beat them to the punch.

Under new rules adopted this week, Vilsack streamlined the disaster declaration process, reducing the time it takes to process disaster claims by as much as 40 percent.

State governors will no longer be required to ask for a disaster declaration. That allows the federal agency to simply designate a disaster area once a county is categorized as under a severe drought for eight consecutive weeks during the growing season.  More counties could be added as disaster areas as the drought continues.

Brandon Smith, IPBS

Brandon Smith, IPBS has previously worked as a reporter and anchor for KBIA Radio in Columbia, MO, and at WSPY Radio in Plano, IL as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.

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