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OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Gov. Jay Inslee has asked the federal government to declare Snohomish County as a farm disaster area so farmers and ranchers affected by the deadly Oso mudslide could seek financial and other help.

The governor sought the declaration from U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack late Thursday. Inslee visited the area and met with some of the landslide first responders.

Inslee says the declaration could provide emergency low-interest loans and other help to cover losses of farm property or production in the county where the mudslide occurred, as well as neighboring counties.

The area is known for its hay crops, Christmas trees, and pasture land. Dairies, sheep farms and other livestock operations are in the area.

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