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Pawlenty seeks ag disaster in four counties

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news Willmar, 56201

Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

ST. PAUL -- Gov. Tim Pawlenty wants federal aid for farmers in four Minnesota counties after a rough weather year.

In a letter to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Pawlenty on Monday sought a disaster declaration for Chippewa, Renville, Wright and Freeborn counties.

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"A secretarial declaration will allow affected farmers access to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's low-interest emergency loan program administered by the Farm Service Agency," Pawlenty wrote to Vilsack.

The governor told Vilsack that the disaster declaration is needed because a widespread late frost on May 8 in Chippewa, Renville and Wright counties damaged apple and grape crops. Also, Pawlenty wrote, cumulative weather events -- including tornadoes, hail, heavy rain and flooding -- amounted to a loss of more than half of the carrot, onion and potato crop value in Freeborn County.

Pawlenty reminded Vilsack that three central Wisconsin counties already have been declared disaster areas due to the late frost.

Don Davis reports for Forum Communications Co.

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