Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has now designated 1,628 unduplicated counties across 33 states as primary natural disaster areas. He signed disaster designations for another 44 counties in 12 states on Wednesday due to damage and losses caused by drought and excessive heat. Of the counties designated during the 2012 crop year – nearly 15-hundred are a result of the drought. The U.S. Drought Monitor indicates 66-percent of the nation’s hay acreage is in an area experiencing drought – with approximately 73-percent of the nation’s cattle acreage in an area experiencing drought. USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service reported this week that 39-percent of the nation’s soybeans are rated very poor to poor – surpassing the lowest conditions observed during the 1988 drought. Half of the nation’s corn crop is rated very poor to poor – and 59-percent of the nation’s pastures and rangeland are rated very poor to poor.
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