Topeka — Gov. Kathleen Sebelius has asked the federal government to provide assistance to farmers in 41 counties where severe weather has damaged crops.
Sebelius sent a letter Friday to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman, asking her to declare those counties disaster areas. Such a declaration will make farmers eligible for low-interest loans.
"Drought continues to plague western Kansas, and severe weather events, including a late-season freeze, have taken their toll on producers statewide," Sebelius said in a statement.
For each county, farmers collectively lost 30 percent of at least one crop because of severe weather. Sebelius spokeswoman Megan Ingmire said it was too early to calculate a dollar estimate for losses.
"Once the harvest is complete, we'll know that," she said.
Sebelius sought the declaration for 31 counties in western and north-central Kansas because of drought.
They were Cheyenne, Ellis, Finney, Graham, Grant, Greeley, Hamilton, Haskell, Hodgeman, Jewell, Kearny, Lane, Logan, Mitchell, Morton, Ness, Norton, Osborne, Phillips, Rawlins, Rooks, Russell, Seward, Sheridan, Sherman, Stanton, Stevens, Trego, Thomas, Wallace and Wichita.
The governor said seven counties needed a disaster declaration because of damage from hail, high winds, tornadoes or flooding. They were Barber, Cloud, Cowley, Geary, Harper, Republican and Sumner.
Sebelius also said three counties had both problems: Decatur, Gove and Scott.