Help on the Way for Drought-stricken Counties

Governor Pawlenty gets word from USDA of assistance for Minnesota farms.

Governor Tim Pawlenty today received notice from U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns that 24 Minnesota counties have been designated as federal agricultural disaster areas due this summer's drought. Farmers and ranchers in an additional 32 adjacent counties will also be eligible for assistance. The Governor had requested the disaster declaration in a letter to Secretary Johanns last Friday.

The disaster declaration will allow drought-impacted farm operators to receive low-interest loans from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Emergency loan funds may be used to restore or replace essential property, pay all or part of production costs associated with the disaster year, pay essential family living expenses, reorganize the farming operation and refinance certain debts.

"Minnesota farmers and ranchers need this help to deal with the effects of a largely hot and dry summer that is challenging their crop and livestock operations," Governor Pawlenty said. "We greatly appreciate the prompt work and response by Secretary Johanns and the USDA."

Last week, Governor Pawlenty visited with farmers at a dairy and corn farm west of Little Falls to see the drought conditions firsthand. Secretary Johanns officially announced the disaster declaration today during his visit at Farmfest in Redwood Falls.

The 24 Minnesota counties designated as primary natural disaster areas are:

Aitkin

Cook

Kanabec

Sherburne

Anoka

Crow Wing

Lake

St. Louis

Benton

Douglas

Mille Lacs

Swift

Brown

Hennepin

Morrison

Todd

Carlton

Hubbard

Pipestone

Wadena

Cass

Itasca

Pope

Wright

 

 

 

 

The additional 32 Minnesota counties also eligible for assistance because they are adjacent to the primary counties are:

Becker

Cottonwood

Lyon

Redwood

Beltrami

Dakota

McLeod

Renville

Big Stone

Grant

Meeker

Rock

Blue Earth

Isanti

Murray

Scott

Carver

Kandiyohi

Nicollet

Stearns

Chippewa

Koochiching

Otter Tail

Stevens

Chisago

Lac Qui Parle

Pine

Washington

Clearwater

Lincoln

Ramsey

Watonwan

 

 

 

 

 

Several parts of the state experienced drought conditions last year, and lack of rainfall during 2007 has only exacerbated stress on crops and forages in these areas. While it is too early to predict actual yield losses, there are confirmed reports of significant forage loss which is of particular concern to livestock producers.

TAGS: USDA Livestock
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