Trucking company

SW MN counties named drought-hit areas | News, Sports, Jobs

MARSHALL — U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has designated nine counties in Minnesota as natural disaster areas due to drought.

On Monday, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture said farms in affected counties may be eligible for Farm Service Agency assistance and state disaster recovery loans.

In an Oct. 11 letter to Gov. Tim Walz, Vilsack said he was designating Lincoln, Lyon, MacLeod, Murray, Nicollet, Pipestone, Redwood, Rice and Wright counties as major natural disaster areas. According to the US Drought Monitor, these counties have experienced either severe drought for eight or more consecutive weeks or extreme or exceptional drought conditions.

Additionally, a total of 20 counties in Minnesota and four in South Dakota were designated as contiguous disaster counties. Brown, Nobles, Renville, Rock, and Yellow Medicine counties were all listed as contiguous counties.

In his letter, Vilsack said his disaster declaration would make farmers in primary and contiguous counties eligible to be considered for help from the Farm Service Agency. This help could include emergency loans from the FSA. Farmers in eligible counties will have eight months to apply for emergency loans.

Local FSA offices can provide affected farmers with more information, Vilsack said. In social media posts Monday, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture said affected counties may also be eligible for disaster recovery loans.

The Oct. 13 drought map for Minnesota showed parts of Lyon, Lincoln, Pipestone, Murray and Redwood counties all in extreme drought since last week.

National Weather Service precipitation data showed the Marshall area falling unusually dry. In September, Marshall only received 1.08 inches of precipitation, while the average for that month was 3.06 inches.

Today’s breaking news and more to your inbox