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Washington drought, now over, cost farmers millions

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(Photo credit: PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Washington farmers have lost at least $336 million due to the ongoing drought, a figure that is likely to climb as more information becomes available.

The Capital Press reports (http://bit.ly/1IO8Zhz ) that a state Department of Agriculture report estimated dollar losses for crops such as wheat, apples, blueberries and raspberries. Losses for Washington staples such as potatoes, milk and cattle will be tallied later as figures on yields and prices become available.

Nearly two-thirds of growers who answered the department’s survey said the quality or marketability of their crops suffered during the drought.

The preliminary assessment did not try to put a figure on how much farmers spent to cope with drought.

A final report is due in one year.

Washington state leaders decided to let the drought declaration expire at the end of 2015, after heavy rainfall during the month of December.