USDA Declares Kentucky A Natural Disaster Area Because Of Drought

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - All of Kentucky has been declared a natural disaster area by the U.S. Department of Agriculture because of extreme drought conditions.

The designation by makes farmers in the state's $4-billion-a-year industry eligible for assistance, including low-interest emergency loans.

Drought conditions, along with cold temperatures over Easter weekend, devastated many agriculture products, including an estimated 50 percent loss on Kentucky's forage crops and decreased yields for corn and soybeans. The drought also has left cattle producers struggling to secure pastures and hay for their herds.

The state made a pitch for federal disaster assistance last month.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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