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Published January 11, 2010, 03:34 PM

Pawlenty seeking federal agricultural disaster declaration

Gov. Tim Pawlenty is asking the federal government to declare an agricultural disaster for 18 Minnesota counties, including St. Louis, Carlton, Lake and Cook.

Such a declaration would make farmers eligible for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s low-interest Emergency Loan program administered by the Farm Service Agency.

In a letter to United States Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Pawlenty noted that farmers in the counties suffered significant crop losses

Farmers in these counties have experienced significant crop losses in 2009 due to difficult growing conditions. Loss assessment reports indicates that affected farmers experienced crop losses of 30 percent or more to corn, soybeans, canola, sunflowers, flax, barley, oats, blueberries, honey, dry edible beans, rye and sugar beet crops.

Other counties that Pawlenty is asking to be included in an agricultural disaster declaration are Roseau, Beltrami, Pennington, Clearwater, Wilkin, Mahnomen, Becker, Pope, Hubbard, Wadena, Cass, Crow Wing, Aitkin and Itasca.