Reporting Kris Habermehl
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CHICAGO (CBS) — Half of the counties in the entire country – and all but four in Illinois – have been declared disaster areas because of the ongoing drought.
As CBS 2’s Kris Habermehl reports, conditions have been hot and humid for more of the summer than not. While there has been rain in recent days, it has not had any effect on the subsoil; only the topsoil.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture added 218 counties in a dozen states to the disaster area list. That brings this year’s total to 1,584 disaster area counties in 32 states, more than 90 percent of them because of the drought.
In Illinois, 66 counties were added to the list. A total of 98 of the state’s 102 counties are now disaster areas; only Cook, DuPage, Kane and Will counties are not.
Across Illinois, farmers have suffered major crop damage, and ranchers have had to sell their cattle for processing early as there is more grass for rthem to graze.
The USDA also announced Wednesday that ranchers may access some 3.8 million acres of conservation land for haying and grazing, and crop insurance companies have agreed to provide farmers a penalty-free grace period on insurance premiums in 2012.
In addition to Illinois, counties in Arkansas, Georgia, Iowa, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee and Wyoming.
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