ST. PAUL -- A July 30 wind storm strong enough to bend flag poles in Madison and topple trees on a path through five west central counties has led to the designation of the counties as an agriculture disaster area.
Farmers in Lac qui Parle, Big Stone, Chippewa, Swift and Yellow Medicine counties will be eligible for low-interest emergency loans from the federal Farm Service Agency. U.S. Agriculture Secretary Edward Schafer designated the counties as an agricultural disaster area, Gov. Tim Pawlenty's office announced on Monday.
A loss assessment report compiled by Lac qui Parle County documented the extent of the damage inflicted on corn and soybean crops by the storm.
The disaster designation is extended to include adjacent counties, which includes Big Stone, Chippewa, Swift and Yellow Medicine.
Farmers should contact their local Farm Service Agency office for more information. 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, according to information from the governor's office.