Cedar Rapids Gazette: U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue declared 18 Iowa counties natural disaster areas Thursday, making farmers eligible for federal assistance in the wake of the effects of COVID-19 and the Aug. 10 derecho. Perdue also toured damaged Iowa farmland Thursday to assess the extent of the impact. Thursday’s Secretarial Derecho Disaster Declaration lists Benton, Boone, Cedar, Clinton, Dallas, Guthrie, Hamilton, Hardin, Jasper, Johnson, Jones, Linn, Marshall, Polk, Poweshiek, Scott, Story and Tama as primary disaster areas. Twenty-four contiguous counties are also eligible for disaster relief programs.