Update 2:38 p.m.:
There are more declarations of natural disaster areas in the state of Michigan. The 21 counties I wrote about below were for "excessive heat" disasters. The USDA has also issued natural disaster declarations for frost (the excessive cold occurred from March 1st through May 16th), AND for storms and rain.
The 32 counties that received the frost declarations can be found this FEMA page.
And the counties that received the storms and rain declarations can be found on this FEMA page.
A USDA public information officer is checking to see if the state hasn't made an emergency declaration in the last 20 years.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture designated 21 counties in Michigan as "primary natural disaster areas."
Drought and excessive heat, "including an unseasonably warm late winter and early spring temperatures" damaged field, fruit, and vegetable crops in the counties.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack released a statement saying the designation enable the federal government to assist farmers:
"President Obama and I understand these conditions caused severe damage... This action will provide help to hundreds of farmers who suffered significant production losses."
The USDA says farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of the declaration (Dec. 8th) to apply for loans to help cover part of their actual losses.
The affected counties are:
- Grand Traverse
The USDA says farmers and ranchers in the other counties in Michigan also qualify for assistance because their counties are contiguous. To see the full list go the the USDA's website.