An additional 218 counties in 12 states have been named a primary natural disaster area due to the drought. The worsening drought has caused many producers to suffer, prompting Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to expand emergency haying and grazing on an additional 3.8 million acres of conservation land to help livestock producers, and negotiate with crop insurance companies to allow a grace period for farmers on insurance premiums. Producers now have an extra 30 days to make payments without incurring a penalty. During the 2012 crop year, USDA has designated 1,584 counties across 32 states as disaster areas—1,452 due to drought. The department has taken steps to help farmers and ranchers by streamlining the disaster process, reducing the interest rate on emergency farm loans and flexing the rules for producers in conservation programs. Learn more or review the newly listed counties designated as disaster areas.
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