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Published July 02, 2010, 09:21 AM

Washington governor seeks disaster declaration for counties

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Gov. Chris Gregoire has asked the federal government to designate 29 Washington counties as farm disaster areas due to cool and rainy spring weather.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Gov. Chris Gregoire has asked the federal government to designate 29 Washington counties as farm disaster areas due to cool and rainy spring weather.

A disaster declaration by the U.S. Department of Agriculture would allow farmers in those counties and adjoining counties to apply for disaster assistance payments. Farmers also may be eligible for emergency low-interest loans to cover production and property losses.

Gregoire says the cool temperatures harmed tree fruit crops, while excessive rain made it difficult for bees to pollinate strawberries and other berry crops. She announced the disaster request on a tour Thursday of Eastern Washington.

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