USDA declares state disaster areas

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More than half of Indiana’s counties are considered natural disaster areas because of this summer’s drought, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Thursday. The designation allows farmers and ranchers in the 55 affected counties, mainly in the northern and southern portions of the state, to apply for low-interest federal emergency loans. The designated counties have been in a severe drought for at least eight weeks during the growing season. About 30 percent of the state is experiencing extreme drought.

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