The U.S. Department of Agriculture designated 14 counties in Minnesota as natural disaster areas, making farmers in those counties as well as any bordering counties eligible for emergency loans.

In the Northland, St. Louis, Koochiching and Itasca counties were declared primary eligible counties, according to the USDA. Farmers in Aitkin, Carlton and Lake counties, as well as Wisconsin's Douglas County, are also eligible for federal loans. Cook County was not included in the designation.

Loans can be used to refinance certain debts, reorganize a farming operation and to replace essential items such as livestock and equipment, the news release said. The Farming Service Agency will review loans based on the extent of loss, security available and repayment ability.

The U.S. Drought Monitor's latest report shows most of Northeastern Minnesota in extreme to severe drought conditions.

The application deadline for financial assistance is March 28.

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Source: U.S. Drought Monitor
Source: U.S. Drought Monitor