TRENTON - The summer's wet weather did more than spoil vacationers' plans. For some farmers, it was positively disastrous.

Gov. Jon S. Corzine filed Wednesday for disaster designation for nine counties, bringing the total to 15 of the state's 21 counties.

Wednesday's application to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack include Cumberland, Atlantic and Cape May counties. An Aug. 11 application sought aid for Ocean County and five other counties.

Other places faced hail or a tornado, but state Department of Agriculture spokeswoman Lynne Richmond said rainy weather was the reason for the local application.

That summer's weather led to problems with blight and Vomitoxin, a fungus, Richmond said.

The disaster-designation request, expected to be decided on later this month, would cover losses from April 15 to the present. The designation would enable eligible farmers who suffered losses of at least 30 percent that were directly attributable to harsh weather to qualify for emergency low-interest loans from the federal Farm Service Agency.

Farmers would have eight months from the declaration to apply.

Hard weather led to disaster declarations last year for farmers in Cumberland, Atlantic, Cape May and Ocean counties, and six other counties after hail, drought and heat ruined crops.

Last year's problems included Aug. 13 hailstorms that pounded crops in Cumberland and Atlantic counties.

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