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Franken: 16 Minnesota Counties Designated USDA Disaster Areas;

Says Designation Makes Emergency Loans Available to Farmers to Cover Losses Due to 2009 Weather Disasters

Thursday, March 11, 2010

U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) announced today that farmers in 16 Minnesota counties are now eligible for emergency loans and other assistance to cover losses suffered last fall due to multiple weather disasters.

Sen. Franken said U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has designated the counties U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) disaster areas because they had sufficient losses last year due to excessive rain, flooding, frost, and freezing temperatures.

“I am pleased that today U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has responded to the needs of farmers in 16 Northern Minnesota Counties who were hit hard by weather disasters last year, by declaring those counties USDA disaster areas,” Sen. Franken said.  “This declaration is important because it makes farmers eligible for emergency loans and other assistance to cover some of their losses.  Many farm operations are already struggling with low farm prices, and these weather disasters have made it even harder for them to operate.”

The counties where farmers are eligible for assistance include Aitkin, Becker, Beltrami, Carlton, Cass, Clearwater, Cook, Crow Wing, Hubbard, Itasca, Lake, Manhnomen, Pope, St. Louis, Wadena, and Wilkin Counties.  

Sen. Franken said the same assistance is already available to eligible farmers in Pennington and Roseau Counties, which were declared disaster counties last fall.  Beyond that, farmers who are in contiguous counties are also eligible for assistance.

USDA will determine eligibility on a case by case basis.  Farmers should call their local Farm Services Administration (FSA) office to find out if they are eligible. 

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