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Loans available for flooded farms in Minnesota

Farmland is flooded with crops lost in northern Murray County. A nearby road is also underwater. Submitted photo

ST. PAUL—Minnesota officials have examined areas that were flooded earlier this week in the southwestern part of the state.

In the meantime, officials announced that loans will be available for flooded farms and gave advice on how to make sure well water is safe.

Gov. Mark Dayton and U.S. Sen. Tina Smith, D-Minn., led a delegation that visited several flooded sites on Friday, July 6.

Dayton called it a critical situation, looking at a number of roads still covered by water. River and lake water has forced state and local officials to close several roads in the area.

On Friday afternoon, the Minnesota Department of Transportation, Cottonwood County and Windom officials closed Minnesota 62 so they can build a temporary berm to keep rising Des Moines River water off the road.

Damage has occurred in many parts of the state in the past month.

Minnesota farmers affected by floods during the last month may be able to get no-interest loans.

State agriculture officials announced that the Rural Finance Authority is backing the loans in areas that have flooded. Loans may be used to clean up farm operations, repair or replace structures and replace seed, feed and livestock.

While the loans have state backing, farmers will go to their existing lenders to apply.

Also, the Health Department warned Minnesotans that flood waters could endanger their wells.

Health officials urged well owners in flood areas to store some clean water before taking the well out of service

If water covered the top of the well, it likely is contaminated, the officials said. Even if flood water got within 50 feet of a well, the officials suggested that the water be tested.

Further well safety information is available at https://tinyurl.com/MNwells.

Dayton on Thursday declared a state of emergency on the Red Lake reservation and in Aitkin, Becker, Beltrami, Blue Earth, Brown, Carlton, Cass, Clearwater, Cottonwood, Faribault, Fillmore, Freeborn, Jackson, Kittson, Lake, Lyon, Mahnomen, Martin, Mille Lacs, Mower, Murray, Nicollet, Nobles, Pine, Pipestone, Polk, Red Lake, Redwood, Renville, Rock, Sibley, Stearns, Stevens, St. Louis, Waseca and Watonwan counties.

Some state funds will be available to local governments. State and local officials will determine if there is enough damage to seek federal funds.

Dayton's emergency declaration goes back to damage since June 9 as a series of storms has hit much of the state.

Don Davis
Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.
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