INDIANAPOLIS — Gov. Eric J. Holcomb said Friday that the state of Indiana is requesting a U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretarial disaster designation for 88 counties due to losses caused by flooding and excessive rain this planting season.

The request mentions all counties of northeast Indiana, including DeKalb, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben and Whitley.

“Heavy and persistent rainfall has saturated fields across the state, hurting Indiana crops and our farmers,” Holcomb said. “As I continue to monitor this situation, Hoosier farmers can rest assured that we will keep a close eye on the long-term effects of these relentless rains.”

The request was made Friday in a letter to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue and signed by Holcomb, Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch and Indiana Farm Service Agency Executive Director Steven Brown.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data shows that the past 12 months have been the wettest on record in the United States. A USDA disaster designation can be requested when at least 30 percent of one crop is damaged or lost in a county. Of the state’s 92 counties, 88 counties have reported data meeting that threshold.

The designation would allow emergency low-interest loans to be made available to farmers. The low-interest financing can also be made to counties contiguous to counties in the disaster zone.

READ MORE agriculture news related to this spring’s planting crisis on page B4 of today’s edition.

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