MADISON, Wis. -

Gov. Scott Walker is asking for a federal disaster declaration due to the drought in 23 southern Wisconsin counties.

If Thursday's request is granted, farmers could apply for emergency loans through the Farm Service Agency.

The request comes after the U.S. Drought Monitor identified the counties as being in extreme drought, the second-worst ranking possible.

The dry conditions are affecting a variety of crops including corn, alfalfa, and soybeans.

The counties named in the request are Adams, Columbia, Crawford, Dane, Dodge, Fond du Lac, Grant, Green, Green Lake, Iowa, Jefferson, Kenosha, Lafayette, Marquette, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Richland, Rock, Sauk, Walworth, Washington, and Waukesha.

Walker planned to tour a couple farms in the drought-stricken area on Friday.

Walker said the increase in wildfires because of the hot weather and lack of rain is adding to the risk of "major economic losses, especially in agriculture."

Walker has directed Wisconsin Emergency Management to coordinate state efforts in response to the drought. It also directs all state agencies to assist in the response and recovery.