Twenty-six Iowa counties have been named natural disaster areas due to a drought that has spread across large parts of the state.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced this week that it designated 10 counties as primary natural disaster areas. Farmers in another 16, including Washington and Keokuk counties in Eastern Iowa, are eligible for natural disaster assistance as they are next to the designated counties.
The natural disaster designation, the USDA said, means farmers and ranchers in those counties are eligible for emergency loans from the department’s Farm Service Agency. Farmers have eight months to apply for loans that can help cover potential losses from the drought.
Drought conditions have covered much of Iowa, including the northwest and central parts of the state and almost all of Iowa’s southern counties, according to a state report released earlier this month.
Only northeast Iowa appears largely unaffected by drought conditions.
The 10 counties designated as primary natural disaster areas include Clarke, Decatur, Jefferson, Lucas, Madison, Marion, Union, Wapello, Warren and Wayne counties.
The additional 16 include Adair, Adams, Appanoose, Dallas, Davis, Guthrie, Henry, Jasper, Keokuk, Mahaska, Monroe, Polk, Ringgold, Taylor, Van Buren and Washington counties.
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