Early Estimated Damage Costs to New York's Agriculture Industry Total at Least $45 Million – Ag Secretary Expected to Visit the Region in the Next Few Days at Governor's Request
Albany, NY (September 1, 2011)
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that the state is focused on helping farmers recover from Hurricane Irene and has reached out to the federal government for assistance. Governor Cuomo has already spoken with U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack directly and is formally requesting federal assistance to help farmers get back on their feet. Governor Cuomo also requested the Secretary visit the region in order to meet with New York farmers and see the damage firsthand. Secretary Vilsack has agreed to the visit, which is expected in the next few days.
Agricultural losses are expected to exceed $45 million according to preliminary estimates with 140,000 acres of farmland lost. Many farms are still inaccessible by road and damage assessments will be continuing.
"Regions of New York are facing an agricultural crisis. New York State has been actively coordinating with our federal partners as we begin to rebuild and recover from the damage inflicted by Hurricane Irene," Governor Cuomo said. "The first step was to make sure that FEMA officials saw the effects of the storm in New York firsthand. We thank Secretary Napolitano and Administrator Fugate for visiting the region yesterday. Now, we need the federal government to also focus on our farmers who were hit so hard by this storm."
The U.S. Department of Agriculture administers a number of programs that provide direct assistance to farmers in the wake of a major disaster.
Governor Cuomo requested a natural disaster designation for the following counties: Albany, Broome, Clinton, Columbia, Delaware, Dutchess, Essex, Greene, Lewis, Montgomery, Oneida, Orange, Otsego, Putnam, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Suffolk, Sullivan, Ulster, Washington and Wayne.