(WASHINGTON) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture has declared an additional 218 counties in 12 states as disaster areas because of damage and losses caused by drought and excessive heat — that means more than half of all the nation’s counties have been designated disaster areas this year.
Nearly three quarters of the nation’s cattle grazing fields are now in drought. Across the nation, farmers are distraught as crops are being ruined. The Agriculture Department says soybean growth is very poor, matching conditions farmers faced in the drought of 1988.
A government map shows drought conditions from the Mexico border of Texas, north to Wisconsin, from the California coast to Indiana, and in virtually the entire southeast.
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Kevin Conlon, Euan McKirdy and Johanzynn Gatewood, CNN
Susan Scutti, CNN
Z. Byron Wolf, CNN
Andreas Preuss, CNN