Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced nearly $1 million in additional recovery aid to New York farms affected by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee.
The funds are Round 2 of the Farm Operation Match Component of the Agriculture and Community Recovery Fund (ACRF). The grants will go to 97 farms in 18 counties to replace feed for livestock, as well as farm-raised crops for retail and wholesale operations that were lost as a result of Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. The first round of grants awarded $1.3 million to 143 farms in 21 counties.
"It has been more than six months since flood waters damaged and destroyed farms across the state, and farmers are still feeling the storms' effects," Governor Cuomo said. "These funds have enabled us to provide vital assistance directly to the farms that were hit the hardest, many of which are family owned, and are facing huge financial burdens as they struggle to rebuild."
Round 2 of the ACRF Farm Operations Match Program will include a total of $949,727 in aid awarded to 97 farms in 18 counties. Under the program, farmers can receive a 50 percent match for the cost of replacing livestock feed, up to $50,000. They can also receive a 50 percent match, up to $10,000, to help cover the purchase of fruits, vegetables, bedding plants, nursery and flowers needed to replace storm-damaged farm products to maintain retail operations. Round 2 of the Farm Operation Match Program also included a component for Wholesale Farm Operations, which provided funds, up to $10,000, to cover the replacement of crops lost in the disasters that would then be offered for wholesale. The first and second rounds of the Farm Operations Match Program have collectively awarded a total of $2,314,460.
New York State Agriculture Commissioner Darrel J. Aubertine said, "With fields washed away just in time for harvest, many farmers lost a significant amount of crops to the floods this past summer. This round of funding under the Governors Agricultural and Community Recovery Fund will help share the financial burden the floods put on our farmers by providing cash to cover half of the replacement cost for livestock feed, as well as for crops to retail and wholesale."
Immediately following the Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee, Governor Cuomo created the Agricultural and Community Recovery Fund (ACRF) to help rebuild the agricultural industry and farming areas in the impacted areas. This was the first disaster recovery program designed specifically for agriculture in the history of New York State. To date, ACRF has completed three successful components, including the ACRF Conservation Component, ACRF Farm Operation Match Component (Round 1 and Round 2), and the ACRF Main Street Component. Those programs have paid out almost $7 million in cash payments to 552 family farms and $3 million in grants to small businesses in 15 local municipalities across six counties, to help them rebuild and reopen.
A fourth component of the ACRF, the On-Farm Capital Program, is currently accepting applications. This program will help pay for capital losses experienced on the farm, including certain minor structural repairs, permanent fixtures and equipment. The deadline for submitting applications is April 2, 2012. Program guidelines and applications for the Capital On-Farm Needs Program are available here: http://www.agriculture.ny.gov/disaster-assistance-and-resources.html.
In addition to ACRF, Governor Cuomo announced $50 million in additional flood recovery funds, of which farmers and small business owners are eligible for $21 million for physical flood-related damage costs, not covered by other federal, state or local recovery programs, or any third party payers. The guidelines and application for that program can be found here: http://www.esd.ny.gov/BusinessPrograms/FloodRecovery.html.
The combined impacts of Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee had a devastating effect on New York State agriculture resulting in an estimated 200,000 acres of cropland damage and $73 million in agricultural damages to crops, buildings, equipment and land resources.