The federal government has approved financial support for Michigan fruit growers whose crops were hammered by bad spring weather.
Sen. Debbie Stabenow said Monday the U.S. Department of Agriculture has designated 72 counties as disaster areas. A spokesman said farmers in contiguous counties are also eligible for help, which means the declaration covers virtually the entire state.
The support consists of low-interest loans. Growers will have eight months to apply. They should contact their local Farm Service Agency for more information.
A rare heat wave in March caused cherry, apple and other fruit trees to sprout blooms that were killed during a series of later frosts and freezes. State officials and industry leaders have reported losses of 90 percent or more in some areas.