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Drought conditions in Iowa continue to worsen and state officials are worried about crop quality, feeding & watering livestock, and how quickly conditions are deteriorating.

Gov. Terry Branstad held his weekly news conference Monday morning and focused on the challenges facing Iowa’s agriculture industry because of the drought.

The most recent USDA drought monitor shows almost 75-percent of the state is experiencing severe drought and about 25-percent is in an extreme drought. Gov. Branstad says only two weeks ago, just 12-percent of Iowa was experiencing severe drought.

Farmers are running into several problems because of the lack of rain. Crops aren’t developing properly, feeding livestock has become more expensive, and some rural water systems are showing signs of stress because of heavy use by livestock producers.

Ag Secretary Bill Northey says corn farmers can expect lower yields and the harvest is expected to begin earlier because the lack of rain and the high temperatures has forced early maturity.

Even if significant rain comes soon, Branstad says it likely won’t help much for the corn crop. “So it’s not going to get any better but it could get worse,” says Branstad.

Soybeans have a better chance to recover if it does rain.