March 20 Federal Disaster Declarations Allow Farmers in 12 Eligible Counties to Apply for Emergency Loans
Deadline for Declarations Made in 2018 Approaching
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced available assistance for farmers impacted by extreme rainfall and wet weather conditions last summer. Last week, the federal government declared 12 counties across the state as natural disaster areas. With these designations, farmers in the impacted areas may be eligible for assistance, including emergency loans, from the United States Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency.
"As extreme weather becomes the new normal, we must protect our farmers who all too often bear the brunt of these weather events with damaged crops and land," Governor Cuomo said. "In the wake of the excessive rainfall experienced in these counties last year, the declarations will ensure farmers have access to emergency funds they need to help get them back on their feet and recover from these devastating losses."
"Communities across the state have been impacted by extreme weather events including significant rainfall," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "The designation of 12 counties as natural disaster areas will provide our farmers with the resources they need to build back better and ensure continued success."
March 2019 Declarations
In response to the extreme weather experienced in the summer of 2018, the federal government last week declared Allegany, Broome, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Columbia, Dutchess, Putnam, Rensselaer, Steuben, Suffolk, Tioga and Westchester counties as secondary disaster counties. The determination of a disaster declaration is based on reporting of on-farm production loss to the FSA.
Farmers in the eligible counties have eight months from the date of the disaster declaration to apply for emergency loans. FSA considers each emergency loan application based on the extent of production losses on the farm, as well as the security and repayment ability of the operator. Local FSA offices can provide affected farmers with further information. Contact information for the offices can be found here.
The Governor also reminded farmers about loan application deadlines approaching on April 1, 2019 for federal disaster declarations that were designated in Summer 2018.
In August 2018, Columbia, Dutchess Greene, Orange, Putnam, Rensselaer, and Ulster counties were designated as disaster counties due to damage from excessive and strong winds, hail, lightning and a tornado. Producers in these counties will have until April 1, 2019, to apply for emergency loans to help cover part of their actual losses.For more information, see FSA's website here.
Additionally, in February 2019, Orange County farmers were also made eligible for federal assistance when the county was designated as a disaster county as a result of excessive rain, moisture and storm-force winds from Hurricane Florence that occurred between July 20 through September 27, 2018. The deadline to apply for an emergency loan under this designation is October 4, 2019. For more information, see FSA's website here.
State Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, "As a farmer, I know all too well the havoc that extreme weather can wreak on our crops and a farm's operation. We encourage farmers in these eligible counties to take advantage of the resources being made available to recoup any losses from last summer and assist with this year's growing season."
Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, a member of the House Committee on Agriculture, said, "Some farmers in the Hudson Valley lost nearly half of their crops because of the extreme rainfall that hit our area last year. That kind of loss can severely harm our family farms, which is why a federal declaration is so important here. Our local farmers can rest easier knowing they have access to federal support if they need it."
Congressman Lee Zeldin said, "Disaster declarations can mean all the difference to those whose livelihoods have been devastated by a harmful weather event. Farmers rely on a good crop to get them through the year, and when heavy winds, rain, or extreme temperatures destroy everything they've worked so hard for, they must know that they have the support and resources necessary to recover."
Congressman Anthony Brindisi, a member of the House Committee on Agriculture, said, "Communities in the Southern Tier saw up to 5 inches of rain a day last summer, which severely impacted farms who were already struggling with low prices for their products. I am glad this declaration will expand resources to farmers and help them recover. I remain committed to working with local, state and federal officials to ensure that we provide the necessary resources to support our communities in times of need."
Congressman Antonio Delgado, a member of the House Committee on Agriculture said, “Protecting our small family farms is one of my top priorities, and it only takes one flood, tornado, or extreme change in temperature to devastate the crops farmers rely on to support their families and communities. With extreme weather becoming more and more common, we must do more to protect our farmers’ livelihoods. I am pleased to see so many communities in our district receive these declarations, as they will truly be life changing for countless folks here in Upstate New York.”
Senator Jen Metzger, Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, said, "The extreme weather we are experiencing as a result of climate change threatens the livelihoods of our farmers and our rural economy. As we continue to address the underlying causes of climate change, these emergency funds for farms located in designated natural disaster areas are crucial to helping farmers recover from the losses caused by last summer's extreme rainfall."
Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo, Chair of the Assembly Committee on Agriculture, said, "The effects of extreme weather are all too familiar for farmers. Last summer's heavy rainfall decimated crops in these counties and dealt a huge blow to the small farm businesses there. As farms continue to rebound, this designation will help them access much needed resources."