Give Now

55 Counties Labeled Natural Disaster Areas By USDA

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

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.

Want to contact your legislators about an issue that matters to you? Find out how to contact your senators and member of Congress here.

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Indiana Public Media News:

Support For Indiana Public Media Comes From