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The U.S. Department of Agriculture declared a drought disaster in 15 additional Montana counties Tuesday, bringing the number of counties in a declared disaster to 31 of Montana’s 56 counties. The declaration makes farms in the affected area eligible for emergency loans and other federal assistance. It comes after Governor Greg Gianforte declared a statewide drought emergency last week and requested that the Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack declare a federal emergency in the entire state. According to data released last week more than 92% of Montana is experiencing abnormally dry conditions.

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