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Published March 20, 2010, 06:41 PM

Farmers hit by multiple disasters during 2009 harvest eligible for FSA emergency loans

Carlton, Beltrami, Clearwater, Wilkin, Mahnomen, Becker, Pope, Hubbard, Wadena, Cass, Crow Wing, Aitkin, Itasca, St. Louis, Lake and Cook counties have been designated as primary agricultural disaster areas by U.S. Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack due to losses caused by the combined effects of multiple disasters that occurred during the growing season.

The designation makes farm operators in both primary and contiguous counties eligible to be considered for Federal Service Agency assistance. This assistance includes FSA emergency loans and the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Program from the federal Farm Service Agency (FSA).

The Governor requested the designation on Jan. 11 citing significant crop losses in 2009 due to difficult growing conditions.

While northeastern Minnesota counties experienced severely dry weather, several north central counties experienced cold, wet growing conditions coupled with an early frost that prematurely ended the growing season.

The Loss Assessment Reports (LAR) 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.

Farmers located in the designated counties should contact their local FSA office for more information about the Emergency Loan Program administered by FSA. 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.