As severe drought conditions spread, the Minnesota Agriculture Department is exploring ways to help farmers. In a stakeholder call on Friday, Ag Commissioner Thom Petersen said disaster loans could be available for farmers through the Rural Finance Authority. “We haven’t authorized those yet, but we’ll be considering.” Minnesota FSA Acting State Executive Director Michelle Page said secretarial disaster designations can trigger for drought. “Producers need to get into the county office and certify their pasture acres. There’s also emergency haying and grazing.” To be eligible for haying and grazing CRP acres, counties must be at D2 or severe level drought for at least one week. There are eligible counties in northwest Minnesota. Farmers can start this once nesting season ends August 1. Petersen said the ag department would ask for the early haying and grazing to start in July.
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