Dried sunflowers are seen in a field near the Bulgarian capital Sofia, Thursday, Aug 23, 2012 After the harshest winter in decades, the Balkans in the southeast of Europe is now facing its hottest summer and the worst drought in what officials across the region say is nearly 40 years. The record-setting average temperatures which scientists say have been steadily rising over the past years as the result of the global warming have ravaged crops, vegetable, fruit and power production in the region which is already badly hit by the global economic crisis.. (AP Photo/Valentina Petrova)
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has declared the entire state of Michigan a natural disaster area because of the continuing drought and heat.
The department said Wednesday that all 83 counties are now classified as primary natural disaster areas because of drought and excessive heat conditions that began in March.
Gov. Rick Snyder says the declaration will help state farmers get more federal aid in dealing with crop or livestock losses.
Qualified farm operators now are eligible for low interest emergency loans from the department's Farm Service Agency.
Snyder's office says farmers have eight months from the date of the declaration to apply for loans to help cover part of their losses.