A severe thunderstorm that swept through Lac Qui Parle County in far west central Minnesota July 31 brought high winds and hail that devastated crops in the area. Now U.S. Agriculture Secretary Edward Schafer has designated Lac Qui Parle, along with the neighboring counties of Big Stone, Chippewa, Swift and Yellow Medicine, to be agricultural disaster areas.
That means farmers in each county are eligible for low-interest emergency loans from the federal Farm Service Agency (FSA).
Gov. Tim Pawlenty released the news, saying: “The effects of a severe storm can be felt long after the winds and hail have ended. This agricultural disaster designation will help Minnesota farmers who suffered losses this summer.”
The storm caused enough damage to corn and soybean crops in Lac Qui Parle County to qualify for the disaster designation. The other counties, Big Stone, Chippewa, Swift, and Yellow Medicine, were included in the disaster designation because they are adjacent to Lac Qui Parle County, the governor’s office said.
Farmers located in the designated counties should contact their local FSA office for more information about the low-interest Emergency Loan Program administered by FSA. Emergency loan funds may be used to restore or replace essential property, pay all or part of production costs associated with the disaster year, pay essential family living expenses, reorganize the farming operation and refinance certain debts.