Iowa farmers get Gov. help with drought

CNN-- - Farmers suffering through the worst U.S. drought in years will get help from the government.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced new assistance programs Monday to cut interest rates on emergency loans. He also visited Iowa farmers to see the drought's impact in person.

Eric Cress started working his grandmother's farm in center point at age 15. Now he's spent half his life in the fields, but this is the first time he's had to deal with a drought of this immensity.

"Last year we had the winds to deal with but at least we had a crop to go out there and get."Cress said. "This year I think we will see a crop in certain areas. Every field I think will be different."

Cress showed  Vilsack how the drought has impacted the 2,000 acres he farms with his father.

Vilsack is traveling across Iowa to share assistance programs from the government.

"This impacts not just farm families but the folks who truck, the folks who work elevators, the folks who are in seed companies, the folks who are employed in processing facilities. It just goes right through the whole process," Vilsack said.

"The little rain Iowa has gotten has been hit or miss, so that even on the same farm some areas can be completely ok, while others are pretty much shot." "The areas like this are probably a complete loss." Vilsack said.

It's still too soon to predict how hard the nation's food industry will be hit by the drought.

"We won't really known until actually crops are harvested precisely the impact on the harvest. We could still have a decent crop in some areas of the country, but in many, many areas of the country the crops are devastated." Said Vilsack.

The federal government had already declared a third of the Nation's counties federal disaster areas, qualifying farmers for the emergency loans.


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