Pawlenty seeks disaster declaration in 18 counties

Gov. Tim Pawlenty is asking U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack for an agricultural disaster declaration for 18 Minnesota counties

The governor wants the U.S. Agriculture Department declaration for counties stretching from the Canadian border to the Glenwood area. Pawlenty says the counties had several periods of bad weather last year, everything from too much rain to near drought conditions to an early frost.

Some farmers lost more than 30 percent of their crop to the weather. Crops affected by the bad weather included corn, soybeans, sugar beets, sunflowers, blueberries and barley. If the USDA issues a disaster declaration, the farmers would be eligible for low interest loans.

Included in the request are the counties of Roseau, Beltrami, Pennington, Clearwater, Wilkin, Mahnomen, Becker, Pope, Hubbard, Wadena, Cass, Crow Wing, Aitkin, Itasca, St. Louis, Lake, Cook and Carlton.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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