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USDA Declares Drought Disaster for Stearns, Benton, Sherburne Counties

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Most Minnesota farmers escaped the worst of the drought, but those who didn’t are eligible for federal loans to help cover crop and livestock losses.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has designated 10 western and central Minnesota counties as primary disaster areas: Big Stone, Chippewa, Kandiyohi, McLeod, Meeker, Pope, Sherburne, Stearns, Swift, and Wright. It also applies to 16 counties bordering them: Anoka, Benton, Carver, Douglas, Grant, Hennepin, Isanti, Lac Qui Parle, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Renville, Sibley, Stevens, Todd, Traverse, and Yellow Medicine.

The declaration was announced Friday by Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, and Rep. Collin Peterson. They say the drought underscores the need for Congress to pass a new farm bill when it reconvenes so that farmers get the certainty they need to plan for next year.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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