Minn. Gov. Seeks Assessment of Crop Frost Damage

August 26, 2004

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty has asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) to assess frost damage to crops in Northern Minnesota.

Last weekend’s cold front brought unseasonably low temperatures that reportedly appear to have caused significant damage to corn, soybean and edible bean crops. Initial reports suggest the sugar beet crop was not as adversely affected.

“This wasn’t the best growing season to begin with and an early frost this big made it worse,” the Governor said. “Fortunately, most of these crops would be covered by crop insurance, but we need to assess whether an agricultural disaster declaration would be appropriate.”

After FSA conducts a damage assessment, if crop losses are found to be more than 30 percent of a specific crop in a county, the area qualifies for a disaster declaration by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and is eligible for assistance such as low-interest loans to assist producers in recovering their losses.

“The challenge with frost damage is that it takes a little longer to become visible,” Commissioner of Agriculture Gene Hugoson said. “It’s not like flooding or a tornado, where a plant is clearly and visibly damaged.”

The Governor said he expects an initial damage assessment by FSA early next week.

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