“Northwest Minnesota needs access to federal aid to recover and endure the effects these losses will have in the coming years,” Walz said in a letter to
Farmers have been pushing for federal disaster assistance after an unusually hard season made worse by President Donald Trump’s trade war with
“It’s not a savior. But it is an acknowledgment. It’s a recognition of the real challenges producers are going through and the impact economically to a county,” USDA Under Secretary
To qualify for disaster designation, a county must have suffered at least a 30% loss of one crop. The review process for the designation request will take several weeks, said Northey, who is meeting with farmers in northwest
The request comes as farmers across the country have been forced to rely heavily on federal assistance this year, with more than one-third of farm income coming from the government.
It also comes on the heels of large federal payouts to farmers across the nation to compensate for market losses suffered in the trade war with
While there is no firm deal between the
Walz said even if a trade agreement is reached and farmers get tariff relief, it will take a while to rebuild their markets.
The governor, like Northey, stressed that the disaster declaration would not be a complete fix for farmers hit by bad weather. But he said it would provide a safety net to soften the blow -- particularly as further environmental complications loom.
“This is going to be a long-unfolding disaster declaration because this is going to go into the spring,” Walz said, adding that more flooding is expected in early 2020. “I think what you’re going to have is two years, back-to-back, where it’s going to be very, very challenging.”
Walz’s letter to Perdue stressed that low commodity prices, trade uncertainty and severe weather challenges have made the situation for farmers particularly acute.
Members of the state’s congressional delegation -- from both sides of the aisle -- joined Walz Thursday in calling for the declaration, sending a separate letter outlining the needs in the northwestern corner of the state.
“Flooded fields have created unworkable field conditions for many producers in
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