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Area counties declared disaster areas

This summer's high temperatures and drought toasted crops throughout a good portion of the state including western Wisconsin.

Now farmers will be able to get some help.

On Friday the U.S. Department of Agriculture named 19 counties in the western and northwestern parts of the state disaster areas because of the drought, which means farmers will be eligible for low-interests loans.

Most of the counties in the west central region were included in the disaster area declaration including: St. Croix, Pierce, Pepin, Polk, Dunn, Eau Claire and Chippewa.

The USDA sets a threshold of 30 percent crop losses countywide for a county to receive assistance. Gov. Jim Doyle requested the counties be declared a disaster area in an Aug. 2 letter to Mike Johanns, DOA secretary.