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Associated Press, Published January 11 2010

Pawlenty seeks disaster declaration in 18 counties

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Gov. Tim Pawlenty is asking U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack for an agricultural disaster declaration for 18 Minnesota counties where farmers have experienced significant crop losses due to difficult growing conditions.

Some are northeastern Minnesota counties that experienced severely dry weather in recent months. The rest are north central Minnesota counties that experienced cold, wet growing conditions coupled with an early frost that prematurely ended the growing season.

Estimates are that affected farmers experienced crop losses of 30 percent or more. A disaster declaration would make them eligible for the Farm Service Agency's low-interest emergency loan program.

Included in the request are the counties of Roseau, Beltrami, Pennington, Clearwater, Wilkin, Mahnomen, Becker, Pope, Hubbard, Wadena, Cass, Crow Wing, Aitkin, Itasca, St. Louis, Lake, Cook and Carlton.