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Taft asks for disaster declaration

Gov. Bob Taft has requested a federal disaster declaration for Lawrence and 84 other Ohio counties due to agricultural losses from drought and other extreme weather.

Such a declaration would make farmers eligible for federal disaster assistance in the form of low-interest loans.

"We've asked the USDA to provide us with a favorable response as quickly as possible to provide needed relief to Ohio farmers," Taft said. "Ohio farmers were hit excessively hard by spring rains as well as frost, freeze, hail and tornado damage during the growing season as well as suffering through one of the worst droughts in our history. Many will need USDA assistance to cope with their losses."

Taft has asked the United States Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency(FSA) to compile damage assessment reports on Ohio counties hardest hit by the extreme weather.

In response, the FSA determined that 77 counties including Lawrence had suffered drought related losses.

Eight counties were listed as having both crop losses and livestock losses. Those counties were mainly in the

central and eastern parts of the state. Teresa Moore/The Ironton Tribune