ST. PAUL — As 14 Minnesota counties facing severe drought conditions are put under a primary agricultural disaster designation by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Governor Tim Walz Wednesday signed Executive Order 21-26 waiving trucking regulations to support Minnesota livestock producers facing significant decrease in the availability of hay and other forage.
“When Minnesota’s farmers are struggling, all of Minnesota is struggling,” said Governor Walz. “We are doing everything we can to address the challenges our farmers, ranchers, and livestock producers are facing. I am grateful to the USDA for their recognition of the deteriorating conditions here in Minnesota.”
Severe drought conditions across Minnesota have resulted in a decrease of approximately 10,000 acres of harvestable hay, requiring farmers and livestock producers to travel farther distances to obtain hay and forage to needed to feed their livestock. Governor Walz and state officials have met with agricultural leaders from across the state to hear how the drought has impacted them and visited affected areas to survey the drought and discuss its impact with farmers. The Minnesota Farmers Union, Minnesota Farm Bureau, Minnesota Cattlemen, Minnesota Lamb and Wool Producers, and the Minnesota Milk Producers are all in support of emergency relief measures to increase access to livestock forage.
Also this week, the USDA announced a primary agricultural disaster designation for 14 counties in Minnesota due to increasingly severe drought conditions across the state. Under this disaster designation, producers in 21 contiguous counties also qualify for benefits. The USDA’s expanded disaster designation makes farm operators in primary and contiguous counties eligible to be considered for assistance from the Farm Service Agency (FSA). Farmers in eligible counties have 8 months from the date of the USDA’s declaration to apply for this assistance, which includes emergency loans. Local FSA offices can provide affected farmers with further information.
Additional information on USDA’s disaster assistance program, including county lists and maps, can be found at http://disaster.fsa.usda.gov.
Executive Order 21-26 is effective immediately, and remains in effect for 30 days.
— Office of Governor Tim Walz & Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan
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