Republican Doug Gross, who’s running for Governor in the fall election, went to southwest Iowa to see for himself the effects of the drought that continues to worsen. Gross grew up on a farm, but says he’s never seen things as bad as they are today in Fremont County. He says stalks had no ears on them, and he figures farmers might get 40 bushels an acres at best — compared with 150 in a normal year. There’s little hay, either, and he says both grain and livestock farmers are in desperate need of emergencydrought aid. Gross says that could take the form of loans, handled by hometown bankers. Democrat Governor Tom Vilsack, Gross’ opponent in November, yesterday asked the Iowa Farm Service Agency to conduct drought assessments for 46 of Iowa’s 99 counties, a process Vilsack says could “expedite” federal drought assistance. Here’s the list of 46 counties: Adair, Dallas, Madison, Ringgold, Adams, Decatur, Mills, Sac, Audubon, Dickinson, Monona, Shelby, Boone, Emmet, Montgomery, Sioux, Buena Vista,Fremont, O’Brien, Story, Calhoun, Greene, Osceola, Taylor, Carroll, Guthrie, Page, Union, Cass, Harrison, Palo Alto, Warren, Cherokee, Humboldt, Plymouth, Webster, Clarke, Ida, Pocahontas, Woodbury, Clay, Kossuth, Polk, Crawford, Lyon and Pottawattamie.