Pawlenty to request drought aid


Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty will ask for federal aid for farmers facing a loss of crops due to drought, according to a release from the governor’s office.

Pawlenty, a Republican, made the statement after visiting Morrison county in north-central Minnesota.

“Minnesota farmers are among the best in the world at what they do, but they can’t make it rain,” Gov. Pawlenty said in a statement. “We will work closely with farmers and USDA officials to make sure that Minnesota farmers have all the available resources to weather this ongoing drought.”

Pawlenty’s satement said he would “promptly request an agricultural disaster declaration for any county that meets the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s threshold of more than a 30 percent crop loss.” The governor had previously requested that the USDA’s Farm Service Agency begin a formal damage assessment of counties impacted by drought.

Additionally, Pawlenty announced that two state loan programs would be made available to farmers affected by the drought.

Much of Minnesota is in the midst of a severe drought, and all but the northwestern part of the state is facing at least some drought conditions. The drought has affected the state during the past two growing seasons, the first significant period of drought since 1987-89, according to the Department of Natural Resources.