The Real Cost of a Sweltering Summer

By Lewis Braham - 2012-07-19T00:21:34Z

Photograph by Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

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Cost to government

The designation of 1,297 counties as natural-disaster areas means farmers and ranchers are eligible for low-interest loans to help them weather the drought, wildfire and other disasters. As well, the USDA is changing procedures to reduce the penalty livestock owners pay for allowing animals to graze on land set aside for conservation, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in an interview with Bloomberg. Vilsack said the low-interest loans and penalty reductions will cost the government about $4 million.