"Disaster Declared in 26 States as Drought Sears U.S."
"More than 1,000 counties in 26 states are being named natural-disaster areas, the biggest such declaration ever by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, as drought grips the Midwest."
"The declaration makes farmers and ranchers in 1,016 counties -- about a third of those in the entire country -- eligible for low-interest loans to help them weather the drought, wildfires and other disasters, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said today. The USDA is also changing procedures to allow disaster claims to be processed more quickly and reducing the penalty ranchers are assessed for allowing livestock to graze on land set aside for conservation."Source: Bloomberg, 07/13/2012