Local News

The lingering drought has led the U.S. Department of Agriculture to declare a natural disaster in 14 more of Indiana's 92 counties.

The USDA added the north-central Indiana counties today.  Along with adjacent counties, they qualify for low-interest relief loans from the federal government.

Fifty counties earlier had been declared natural disaster areas.  

The latest U.S. Drought Monitor report released Thursday showed that nearly 54 percent of Indiana is now in extreme drought.    All of Indiana remains under a water shortage warning, with communities, businesses and residents urged to conserve.

Federal officials say 71 percent of Indiana's corn crop is in poor to very poor condition due to drought and heat stress.

Drought conditions are expected to continue as late as October.