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Governor Walker Requests Federal Disaster Assistance
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 12/06/2011

Governor Scott Walker has asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture to designate four Wisconsin counties as disaster areas because of ginseng and soybean crop losses caused in part by cold, wet weather in September. Walker requested two separate declarations, including one for Lincoln and Marathon counties, and the other for Burnett and Polk counties.

In a letter to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Walker said above-normal rainfall in August and September, combined with cold temperatures in September, hampered the ginseng harvest in Lincoln and Marathon counties.

"The delayed harvest resulted in root rot; the root is the part of the ginseng plant that is harvested for use," the letter stated. "Ginseng crop losses ranged as high as 75 percent in the counties."

He also stated that wet spring conditions delayed soybean planting for two to three weeks in Burnett and Polk Counties. That was followed by a killing frost hit in mid-September, ending the growing season prematurely.

If Vilsack declares the disaster areas, farmers there and in adjacent counties would be eligible to receive low-interest loans help them recover from the losses.

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