Topeka Farmers and ranchers in nearly two-thirds of the state's counties now are eligible for federal low-interest loans to help them recover from crop damage.
Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman designated 68 Kansas counties Friday as agriculture disaster areas because of drought, heat, hail and flooding this summer.
"This year's hot, dry weather has hit soybean and hay farmers hard, as well as cattlemen, who are already feeding their stock from their winter supplies," he said.
Glickman said the USDA is looking at conditions in other counties to see whether they should also be declared them disaster areas.
Farmers have eight months to apply for loans.
Glickman came to Kansas to attend the State Fair in Hutchinson.
The secretary's declaration came after Gov. Bill Graves requested to have much of the state named a disaster area.
"As summer winds down, we continue to receive reports of disastrous crop losses in Kansas," Graves said in a statement. "The combination of record high temperatures and no rainfall took a huge toll. Many farmers and ranchers have little or nothing to take to market."
Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman
Glickman actually placed more counties under the declaration than Graves requested 68, as opposed to 56.
Under Glickman's declaration, 25 counties are primary disaster areas: Anderson, Atchison, Barton, Chase, Chatauqua, Cheyenne, Coffey, Decatur, Elk, Jewell, Johnson, Leavenworth, Lyon, Marshall, Mitchell, Morris, Norton, Osage, Phillips, Republic, Rooks, Stafford, Waubaunsee, Washington and Wyandotte.
Graves has asked that 21 counties be placed on such a list but Glickman added Barton, Norton, Rooks and Stafford counties.
Farmers and ranchers in 43 counties contiguous to those 25 also are eligible for the same loans.
Those counties are: Allen, Bourbon, Brown, Butler, Clay, Cloud, Cowley, Dickinson, Doniphan, Douglas, Edwards, Ellis, Ellsworth, Franklin, Geary, Graham, Greenwood, Jackson, Jefferson, Lincoln, Linn, Marion, Miami, Montgomery, Nemaha, Osborne, Ottawa, Pawnee, Pottawatomie, Pratt, Reno, Rice, Riley, Rush, Russell, Shawnee, Sheridan, Sherman, Smith, Thomas, Trego, Wilson and Woodson.
Graves listed 33 counties in his request and Glickman added Edwards, Ellis, Ellsworth, Pawnee, Pratt, Reno, Rice, Rush, Russell and Trego counties.