It's hot and nasty almost everywhere you go these days.
U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Thomas J. Vilsack yesterday designated
the remaining 97 counties of Missouri as primary natural disaster areas because of the ongoing drought. Missouri's 17 other counties had been deemed disaster areas on July 12, which means it's a clean sweep; the entire state is wrecked, at least agriculturally.
Secretary Vilsack's declaration allows farmers to apply for emergency low-interest loans to compensate them for lost crops and livestock. Farmers have eight months, starting yesterday, to file for the loan. As hot and dry as it's been in 2012, you have to think that none of them are going to wait till the last minute to fill out their paperwork.
And of course, there's still no relief forthcoming from the weather. The extended forecast predicts more heat and no rain, which is the same sad song we've been listening to for the past three months.
There is a bright side in all this, however. The official designation of primary disaster area means that we're all entitled to deliver an open-hand slap to the face of any person who asks, "Hot enough for ya?" This condition lasts until we reach 6 inches of rain for the year or Thanksgiving, whichever comes first.