RALEIGH (AP) -- Governor Mike Easley today asked federal agriculture officials for help because of drought-related crop losses in 85 counties. Easley asked that the counties be declared federal disaster areas. Federal reports show a 30 percent or greater loss in at least one crop in most of the counties. The governor says in a letter to the U.S agriculture secretary that the drought has devastated farms that are a big part of the state's economy. Easley says losses are being reported in tobacco, corn, cotton, hay, pasture, peanuts and soybeans. Cattle farmers in many areas have used up their winter feed and are looking for other ways to feed their livestock. A federal disaster declaration would allow farmers to apply for low interest loans.
The counties for which Governor Mike Easley Friday asked to be declared eligible for federal disaster aid because of the drought: Alamance Alexander Alleghany Anson Ashe Avery Bertie Bladen Brunswick Buncombe Burke Cabarrus Caldwell Caswell Catawba Chatham Cherokee Chowan Clay Cleveland Columbus Craven Cumberland Davidson Davie Duplin Durham Edgecombe Forsyth Franklin Gaston Gates Graham Granville Greene Guilford Halifax Harnett Haywood Henderson Hertford Hoke Iredell Jackson Johnston Jones Lee Lenoir Lincoln Macon Madison McDowell Mecklenburg Mitchell Montgomery Moore Nash Northampton Orange Perquimans Person Polk Randolph Richmond Robeson Rockingham Rowan Rutherford Sampson Scotland Stanly Stokes Surry Swain Transylvania Union Vance Wake Warren Watauga Wayne Wilkes Wilson Yadkin Yancey(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)