US. names 10 Md. counties agricultural disaster areas

November 18, 2009

Federal officials have named 10 Maryland counties agricultural disaster areas because of grain crop losses due to a fungal infestation blamed on last spring's heavy rains. State Agriculture Secretary Earl F. "Buddy" Hance said wheat and barley losses ranged from 30 percent to 55 percent. Farmers in the 10 designated primary counties, and in adjacent counties, are eligible to apply for assistance from the U.S. Farm Service Agency. The primary counties include Baltimore, Carroll, Cecil, Harford, Howard, Kent, Montgomery, Queen Anne's, Talbot and Washington. Infestation by Fusarium head blight produces a toxic chemical called vomitoxin that makes the grain impossible to market or to use as feed. Central Maryland saw more than nine inches of surplus rain in April, May and June.

- Frank D. Roylance

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