Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced that $11.8 million in additional financial and technical assistance will be provided to help crop and livestock producers in 22 states apply conservation practices that will reduce the impacts of the U.S. drought and improve soil health and productivity.

“As this drought continues to impact American farming and ranching families, the [U.S. Department of Agriculture will be there to help our agriculture sector recover,” said Vilsack. “This additional assistance builds on a number of steps the USDA and other federal agencies have taken over the past few months to provide resources and flexibility in our existing programs to help producers endure these hardships.”

Exceptional drought continues to dominate sections of Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Wyoming, causing widespread losses of crops and pastures and water shortages in reservoirs, streams and wells. Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, South Carolina and Utah are under extreme drought, with accompanying major losses of crops and pasture, widespread water shortages and restrictions on water use, according to the USDA.