Governor Tim Walz is asking the federal government to declare a dozen counties in northwest Minnesota an agriculture disaster area to help farmers struggling with the fall harvest because of bad weather. The governor says the long-range forecast predicts flooding next spring — not good news for farmers having a tough time now. “So I think what you’re gonna have is two years back-to-back where it’s gonna be very, very challenging, ” Walz says. “The disaster declaration… I think that’s not a fix, it’s not an instant fix. It might provide some of that safety net to kind of soften the blow a little bit — but I’m concerned for next year.”
U-S-D-A Undersecretary Bill Northey said Thursday they’re already reviewing a request from neighboring North Dakota. “Doesn’t take a long time,” Northey says. “I think we’re getting very close on the North Dakota request [and] we’ll be able to announce whether those will get a declaration or not. Certainly we’ll quickly look at the Minnesota information and be able to address it there as well.”
Over the next two days Northey has meetings with Congressman Collin Peterson and North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum, plus town hall meetings with farmers in both states.
The Minnesota disaster declaration request is for Polk, Clay, Norman, Marshall, Pennington, Lake of the Woods, Kittson, Roseau, Red Lake, Wilkin, Becker and Mahnomen counties.