More Iowa counties added to drought disaster area - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

More Iowa counties added to drought disaster area

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (KWWL) -

As the drought continues across the country, US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is now offering up new disaster assistance for farmers and ranchers. 

First, Vilsack is expanding emergency haying and grazing on approximately 3.8 million acres of conservation land to bring greater relief to livestock producers dealing with shortages of hay and pastureland.  

Second, the Secretary announced that crop insurance companies have agreed to provide a short grace period for farmers on insurance premiums in 2012.  As a result, farming families now have an extra 30 days to make payments without incurring interest penalties on unpaid premiums.

There are also now 218 additional counties in 12 states, including Iowa, considered primary natural disaster areas due to damage and losses caused by drought and excessive heat.  More than half of all counties in the US have been designated disaster areas this year, mostly due to drought.

"President Obama and I will continue to take swift action to get help to America's farmers and ranchers through this difficult time," said Vilsack. "The assistance announced today will help U.S. livestock producers dealing with climbing feed prices, critical shortages of hay and deteriorating pasturelands. Responding to my request, crop insurance companies indicated that producers can forgo interest penalties to help our nation's farm families struggling with cash flow challenges. The Obama Administration intends to continue helping those who farm or ranch and live and work in rural America through this period of hardship."

Newest counties in Iowa added to the disaster declaration:

Iowa

Appanoose

Benton

Black Hawk

Boone

Bremer

Buchanan

Butler

Cedar

Clayton

Clinton

Davis

Delaware

Des Moines

Dubuque

Fayette

Grundy

Hamilton

Hardin

Henry

Iowa

Jackson

Jasper

Jefferson

Johnson

Jones

Keokuk

Lee

Linn

Lucas

Mahaska

Marion

Marshall

Monroe

Muscatine

Polk

Poweshiek

Scott

Story

Tama

Van Buren

Wapello

Wayne

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