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The Journal Gazette

Friday, July 12, 2019 5:10 pm

Indiana seeks federal aid for 88 counties after wet weather

Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS -- Gov. Eric Holcomb is seeking federal disaster assistance for farmers across most of Indiana following flooding and excessive rainfall during the planting season.

Holcomb said Friday his request to the U.S. Department of Agriculture seeks an agricultural disaster designation for 88 of Indiana's 92 counties.

The designation includes all of northeast Indiana, including Allen County.

The four Indiana counties not included in the governor's request are Benton, Rush, Shelby and Warren counties.

Holcomb says persistent rainfall in recent months have left fields saturated statewide, "hurting Indiana crops and our farmers."

A disaster designation from the USDA can be requested when at least 30 percent of one crop is damaged or lost in a county. The 88 counties included in Holcomb's request have reported data that meet that threshold.

A federal disaster designation would make emergency low-interest loans available to farmers.

According to the governor's office, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data shows the last 12 months have been the wettest on record in the United States.

"Heavy and persistent rainfall has saturated fields across the state, hurting Indiana crops and our farmers," the governor said in a statement. "As I continue to monitor this situation, Hoosier farmers can rest assured that we will keep a close eye on the long-term effects of these relentless rains."