Some Federal aid is being made available for drought-stricken farmers and ranchers in the Dakotas and elsewhere in the Upper Midwest.NBC-North Dakota News reports U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue is designating 15 North Dakota counties (including Burleigh and Morton counties) as "primary natural disaster areas."

Counties covered include Burleigh, Morton, Ward, Williams, Stark, Mercer, Adams, Billings, Bowman, Divide, Golden Valley, Hettinger, McLean and Slope.

That paves the way for emergency loans for producers in those counties, as well as counties in South Dakota and Montana.