Federal agriculture leaders were on the ground in central Indiana on Thursday, surveying acre upon acre of farmland devastated by recent hot, dry conditions.
A new drought map released Thursday shows more than half of the state is considered to be experiencing extreme drought conditions, RTV6's Chance Walser reported.
Joe Kelsay, who owns a farm in Whiteland, has lost much of his corn crop and his dairy operation in struggling, too, with feed prices up 30 percent from last year.
"We still have some big solutions to find as we try to mitigate the overall damage here," Kelsay said.
In previous seasons, some farmers and dairy producers in Indiana and across the country relied on a variety of federal relief programs to get them through financially dry times.
But those programs expired last September, leaving few options this year.
"Unfortunately when you have years like we're experiencing right now, you are going to lose some producers because of the high cost of production," said Michael Scuse, undersecretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
One of the only ways for some to cover their losses will be with the help of a special low-interest emergency loan through the Farm Service Agency.
Johnson County and 79 others around the state are now eligible.
"There are some real impacts that are going to happen because of a short crop this year, and many of us are looking to next year, but we've got to get to next year," Kelsay said.
USDA officials also made stops in White and Allen counties as part of their Indiana tour this week.
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