Farmers in four western Upper Peninsula counties are expected to be eligible for low-interest loans due to heat- and drought-related crop damage and losses.
The office of U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow announced Thursday that Dickinson, Gogebic, Iron and Menominee counties will be considered natural disaster areas because of crop damage in nearby Wisconsin.
The Upper Peninsula counties are in addition to Branch, Cass, Hillsdale and St. Joseph counties in southwestern Michigan, which got the federal designation Wednesday. Several other Michigan counties in that area got the designation because they're contiguous.
The drought follows a blow to Michigan's tree fruit industry this year. The federal government earlier declared most of Michigan a disaster area because of damage to fruit crops from spring weather, making growers eligible to seek low-interest loans.