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Forum staff reports, Published January 31 2009

Pawlenty seeks disaster status for Mahnomen County

ST. PAUL – Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is requesting the federal government to declare an agricultural disaster for Mahnomen County due to excessive rainfall last year.

The county’s heavy rains from August to November caused wet field conditions, making the harvesting of sugar beets nearly impossible, Pawlenty wrote in a letter to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

In addition to heavy rains, freezing temperatures in November damaged the remaining crop.

The disaster declaration is seeking federal aid for affected farmers through the U.S. Department of Agriculture.