Tuolumne County leaders called for a state of emergency Tuesday due to the ongoing drought, while federal officials promised aid to farmers and ranchers.

The Tuolumne County emergency declaration is the second to take place locally in the past six months, as the county Board of Supervisors declared a local emergency in response to the Rim Fire as well.

The move makes it easier to apply for state and federal assistance as the drought adversely affects local services.

County leadership has been meeting, and will continue to meet, with water providers as the drought develops.

"This is real. It's a real emergency for the entire county," Supervisor Karl Rodefer said.

Also Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced it was setting aside $20 million in aid to California farmers and ranchers hardest hit by the drought.

For the full story see today's Union Democrat.

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