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The federal government has declared 14 Tennessee counties as agricultural disaster areas after drought and excessive heat last summer.

Gov. Bill Haslam announced Friday that Blount, Cumberland, Fayette, Fentress, Haywood, Loudon, McMinn, Macon, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Roane, Scott and Wilson counties were given the designation by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. Haslam requested the help last month.

The designation means farmers in the affected counties can apply for Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments to help recover lost income, low-interest loans and other assistance through local USDA Farm Service Agency offices. So can farmers in counties that adjoin the primary disaster counties. Crop losses ran as high as 30 percent.

Haslam requested separately that Williamson and Henry counties be added and that Claiborne and Union counties be considered because of flooding.

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