Forty-three Michigan counties have been declared natural disaster areas because of bad farming weather this year. The designation came this week from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Most of the counties are downstate, but Delta, Dickinson, Iron, Marquette and Schoolcraft Counties in the Upper Peninsula made the list.
Michigan agriculture was clobbered by heavy spring rains, which prevented planting… and early fall snow, which wiped out or prevented harvest of crops that had been planted late.
The disaster designation will give farmers in the affected counties access to low-cost loans, and other assistance programs.
Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Michigan Agri-Business Association President Jim Byrum, and Michigan Farm Bureau President Carl Bednarski expressed their appreciation.
Whitmer had initially asked for the declaration to be statewide. A second list of counties could still be included, but officials are waiting for final numbers. Houghton, Keweenaw, Baraga and Ontonagon Counties are not under consideration.