U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has designated farmers and ranchers in 18 Minnesota counties whose operations are suffering from this summer’s intense and worsening drought eligible for federal emergency disaster assistance.

Sec. Vilsack’s disaster designation makes hard-hit producers in three primary Minnesota counties and 15 contiguous counties eligible for emergency loans and other assistance. Primary counties include Blue Earth, Clay, and Cottonwood counties. The 15 contiguous counties include Becker, Martin, Otter Tail, Brown, Murray, Redwood, Faribault, Nicollet, Waseca, Jackson, Nobles, Watonwan, Le Sueur, Norman, and Wilkin counties.

Earlier this month, Sec. Vilsack designated several other Minnesota counties as eligible for drought assistance.

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