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US 'suffering worst drought in 56 years'

The United States is experiencing its widest-spread drought in 56 years, according to a release by the nation's meteorological agency Monday.

Marion Kujawa looks over the pond he uses to water the cattle on his farm in Ashley, Illinois on July 16, 2012. The United States is experiencing its widest-spread drought in 56 years, according to a release by the nation's meteorological agency Monday.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported that some 55 percent of the contiguous United States, particularly in the Midwest, suffered from drought last month, according to the Palmer Drought Index, a formula that determines dryness based on temperature and rainfall data.

The percentage is the largest since 1956, when drought spanned 58% of the country.

This is the "14th warmest and tenth driest June on record," the report read.

"Topsoil has dried out and crops, pastures and rangeland have deteriorated at a rate rarely seen in the last 18 years."

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