Gov. Walker seeks disaster designation after ginseng losses

MADISON — Gov. Scott Walker is seeking a federal disaster designation for three Wisconsin counties where farmers lost nearly a third of their ginseng crop this spring.

Walker's office on Tuesday asked U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack for the designation for Langlade, Lincoln and Marathon counties. Walker's office says ginseng farmers in those counties lost 28 percent of their crop and half of their seed due to a late freeze and frost in May.

A disaster designation would allow farmers in the three counties and as well as contiguous counties to apply for emergency loans.

Wisconsin is one of the nation's leading ginseng producers.