Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has requested federal disaster declarations for 37 additional counties in Kansas because of drought, extreme heat, high winds and wildfires.
The request includes Atchison, Brown, Chase, Cherokee, Clay, Cloud, Dickinson, Doniphan, Douglas, Ellis, Ellsworth, Franklin, Geary, Jackson, Jefferson, Jewell, Johnson, Leavenworth, Lincoln, Marion, Miami, Mitchell, Morris, Nemaha, Osage, Osborne, Ottawa, Pottawatomie, Republic, Riley, Rush, Russell, Saline, Shawnee, Smith, Wabaunsee and Wyandotte.
If approved, 103 of Kansas' 105 counties will be considered primary federal disaster areas. Because they border primary counties, Marshall and Washington counties will receive disaster declarations as contiguous counties.
Some areas of the state have received rain from scattered afternoon thunderstorms this week, but rain has been extremely spotty. The 7-day forecast calls for another week of daily highs well above 100 degrees and no rain.
"After touring portions of Kansas this week to see the drought's impact on the Kansas agriculture, it is clear the drought is growing in size and strengthening in severity," Brownback said. "Kansas farmers and ranchers are continuing to feel the devastating impacts of this drought. It is critical that they have access to resources to help cope with production losses caused by the drought."
A disaster declaration will make farmers eligible for USDA disaster assistance programs.
The Governor's request reflects the recommendations of the Kansas State Emergency Board. County Farm Service Agency offices must report at least a 30 percent countywide production loss in a crop in order for a county to be recommended by the board for disaster declaration. If approved by USDA, these 37 counties will be eligible for low-interest emergency loans administered by the Farm Service Agency.
"The entire state of Kansas is feeling the impacts of this drought. From the county boards to Governor Brownback and everyone between, we have and will continue working together to help Kansas farmers and ranchers adapt and recover from this drought," Kansas Secretary of Agriculture Dale Rodman said.Sixty-six primary counties and 16 contiguous counties were declared federal disaster areas in a July 12 Secretarial fast-track designation.