TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture has declared a drought disaster in 104 of Kansas' 105 counties, clearing the way for farmers and ranchers to seek low-interest emergency loans.
Wednesday's declaration omits only Doniphan County, located on the Missouri River in far northeastern Kansas.
Eighty-eight counties were designated primary disaster areas, meaning they've had severe drought for at least eight consecutive weeks. Sixteen neighboring counties were designated contiguous disaster areas.
Gov. Sam Brownback took the occasion to note that Kansas is entering the third straight year of severe drought. The governor says it's a reminder for all Kansans to do what they can to conserve water.
Brownback is meeting Friday with the Kansas Drought Response Team for updates on the drought's toll.