WASHINGTON (B)--Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman declared four more Texas counties agricultural disaster areas Aug. 29, bringing the number of drought-stricken counties where farmers are eligible for emergency assistance to 153.

"With nearly the entire state of Texas affected by severe heat and drought, I am quickly approving requests for disaster assistance," Glickman said in a statement. "Texas livestock producers are especially hard hit as 90% of the state's ranges and pastures are in fair to very poor condition.

The disaster declaration makes farmers in Howard, Reeves, Val Verde, Wise and contiguous counties eligible for low-interest loans to make up for losses incurred because of the drought. Farmers have eight months to apply for the aid.

Most of northern Texas has gone for nearly 60 days without rain, with no precipitation expected in the region until October at the earliest.

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