Farmers in eight South Dakota counties are eligible for federal assistance because of weather and grasshopper problems last year.
The federal Agriculture Department has designated Ziebach County as a primary natural disaster area. The designation makes assistance such as low-interest emergency loans available to farmers in that county and also the contiguous counties of Corson, Haakon, Pennington, Stanley, Dewey, Meade and Perkins.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said there was serious damage from freezing rain, snow, excessive rain, high winds, tornadoes, flash flooding and grasshopper infestations in the counties in 2009 from late March through December.
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