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51 Minnesota counties designated as natural disaster areas

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Farmers in 51 Minnesota counties may be eligible for low-interest emergency loans, after the federal government designated them as natural disaster areas.

The designation, made last week, was publicly announced Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Thirty-six counties have been designated as primary natural disaster areas. They include: Aitkin, Anoka, Beltrami, Benton, Carlton, Cass, Chisago, Clearwater, Cook, Crow Wing, Hennepin, Hubbard, Isanti, Itasca, Kanabec, Kittson, Koochiching, Lake, Lake of the Woods, Mahnomen, Marshall, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Norman, Pennington, Pine, Polk, Pope, Red Lake, Roseau, Sherburne, St. Louis, Stearns, Todd, Wadena, and Wright counties.

Fifteen other Minnesota counties, as well as five counties in North Dakota and three counties in Wisconsin, were designated as natural disaster areas because they are contiguous.

The Minnesota counties are: Becker, Carver, Clay, Dakota, Douglas, Grant, Kandiyohi, McLeod, Meeker, Otter Tail, Ramsey, Scott, Stevens, Swift, and Washington counties.

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In North Dakota, farmers in Cass, Grand Forks, Pembina, Traill and Walsh counties may be eligible for loans. In Wisconsin, Burnett, Douglas and Polk counties are affected.

Eligible farmers in all those areas have eight months to apply for loans to help cover part of their actual losses caused by the drought that began May 10.

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For more information, interested farmers may contact their local USDA Service Centers. Additional information is also available at: http://disaster.fsa.usda.gov.

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