50 counties have been named disaster areas by the federal Department of Agriculture so far. They, along with 24 contiguous counties, are eligible to receive emergency low-interest loans from the federal government.
Thursday, the Ag Department will release a new list of disaster areas that the state says is expected to include more counties in Indiana. Lieutenant Governor Becky Skillman says one of the things the state is doing is creating a website intended as a one-stop shop for drought information.
“On that website you will see updates from all of the state agencies, the relevant state agencies and USDA. Purdue is feeding us information as well,” Skillman says.
The state also recently issued a water shortage warning to high-water users across the state, including those involved in agricultural operations. But the warning does not mandate a decrease in water usage; only a water shortage emergency declaration from the governor can do that. And Skillman says the state is still a long way from having to use that drastic step.