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USDA declares Rock County disaster area

ST. PAUL — The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) designated Rock County as a primary natural disaster area. USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack made the declaration in a letter to Gov. Mark Dayton Wednesday morning, noting that based on the department’s Loss Assessment Report, recent flooding caused “sufficient production losses to warrant a Secretarial natural disaster declaration.”

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Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson pledged the state’s continued support to Rock County communities and farmers affected by this summer’s widespread flooding.

“This federal assistance is urgently needed and greatly appreciated,” said Frederickson. “Working with the federal government, we will continue doing everything possible to help Minnesotans return their lives, farms and communities to normalcy after this summer’s flooding.”

A Secretarial disaster designation makes farm operators in primary counties and those counties contiguous to primary counties eligible to be considered for certain assistance from the Farm Service Agency (FSA). This assistance includes FSA emergency loans.

Farmers in Rock County have eight months from the date of a Secretarial disaster declaration to apply for emergency loans. FSA considers each emergency loan application on its own merits.

Local FSA offices can provide affected farmers with additional information.