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4 northwest Iowa counties in ag disaster areas

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- Farmers in four northwest Iowa counties are eligible for low-interest emergency loans after the U.S. Department of Agriculture issued a major disaster declaration for the area.

Farmers with losses in Dickinson, Emmet, Lyon, and Osceola counties resulting from severe winter storms on April 9, 10, and 11 may apply for emergency loans carrying an interest rate of less than 2.4 percent. The money will help replace lost livestock, fruit and nut trees, and perennial crops. They also may repair or replace damaged or destroyed essential farm buildings.

The Farm Service Agency announced the disaster declaration on Monday. The four Iowa counties are eligible because they are contiguous with five Minnesota counties designated as a primary disaster area.

Farmers must apply for the loans by Jan. 3.