Heat wave prompts Gov. Ag. Comm. seek drought relief for farmers

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UNDATED, Ala. (AP) — Alabama is baking -- NO rain is forecast expect for the isolated passing shower caused by the extreme heat.

The high temperature yesterday surpassed the 100-degree mark in many areas of the state. National Weather Service meteorologists say the last time it was that hot was almost six years ago in August 2000.

In a related matter, Gov. Bob Riley and state Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks will fly to Washington D-C today to meet with Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns to ask for federal aid for Alabama farmers hard hit by the drought.

Sparks said the state has had one of the driest springs in recorded history. He said the lack of rainfall has damaged row crops such as corn, cotton and peanuts. Cattle farmers are also affected due to the shortage of hay.

Riley has requested an agriculture disaster declaration for parts of Alabama because of the drought. If its granted, farmers would be eligible for emergency economic assistance.