VINCENNES, IND. (WTHI) - The U-S Department of Agriculture declares much of the Wabash Valley as a drought disaster.
Too much heat and too little rain led Agriculture officials to declare disasters in 22 Indiana counties and 26 in Illinois.
The drought disaster is in effect in Knox, Daviess, Martin, Greene and Sullivan Counties in Indiana and in Clay, Clark, Crawford, Edgar, Lawrence and Richland Counties in Illinois.
The designation makes some relief available to farmers right away.
The corn crop in much of the Wabash Valley is dying of heat and thirst, and will not recover from a summer that has been the most brutal farmers can recall.
"It's rather dramatic," said Knox County farmer Rowe Sargent. "I don't remember it being this hot, this early and being this dry."
The ruined crops are expected to eat into farmers profits and could put some in danger of going under.
"As expensive as it is to put out a crop these days they're going to need something to help them get out another crop next year," said Sargent.
` That help may be available through the drought declaration in the form of disaster loans.
"We still have low interest loans that will help farmers that do not have crop insurance," said Executive Director of the Knox County USDA Office Lisa Hollars.
The disaster declaration also opens some conservation acres to provide grazing for livestock producers.
Other than the release of conservation acres for grazing and the low interest loans there isn't much that USDA is offering for farmers and livestock producers in the Wabash Valley right now, but officials say that could change this fall and they are telling farmers to document their losses and keep in touch with the local office.
"By letting us know what's going on out there, then we can forward that information and hopefully Congress will enact something that will help them," said Hollars.
So, even as the drought lingers there is a chance that even more help could come down the road.
Officials say livestock operators should contact their local USDA Office and complete the paperwork before utilizing Conservation Reserve Program Land for grazing.
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