At the urging of U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has issued federal agriculture disaster declarations for New York Counties that experienced crop damage as a result of a spring freeze. Last week, Senator Gillibrand called on USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack to issue disaster declarations so that farmers across New York State can access federal funds to help them recover losses and stay afloat this season.
"Farmers across New York who were still recovering from last year's natural disasters risk losing an entire season worth of crops again," Senator Gillibrand said. "These disaster declarations are a good first step to open up access to federal resources so these farmers can get back to business and keep New York's agricultural industry on the move."
After a winter of record high temperatures, many crops on New York farms blossomed earlier than usual. Many of these crops were then exposed to early spring freezing temperatures, and were destroyed as a result. Across the state, more than 3 million acres of farmland have experienced a 30 percent loss or greater, while many farms suffered 100 percent losses, including farms that were still struggling to recover from the damage of Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee.
Federal agriculture disaster recovery programs provide a variety of tools to assist farmers in overcoming the challenges they can face as they work to recover from production and physical losses on their farms and rebuild their business, including financial assistance to compensate for farm losses, low interest emergency loans, and assistance in rehabilitating farm land.
Below is a list of New York counties that received disaster declaration and counties that are eligible for benefits:
Disaster #1: Frost and freezes that occurred during the period of March 1, 2012, and continuing.
Disaster declaration for the primary counties of Albany, Broome, Cattaraugus, Cayuga, Chautauqua, Columbia, Dutchess, Erie, Fulton, Greene, Madison, Monroe, Montgomery, Niagara, Onondaga, Ontario, Orange, Orleans, Oswego, Rensselaer, Rockland, Saratoga, Schoharie, Schuyler, Seneca, Ulster, Washington and Yates.
Benefits are also available for the contiguous counties of Allegany, Chemung, Chenango, Cortland, Delaware, Essex, Genesee, Hamilton, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Livingston, Oneida, Otsego, Putnam, Schenectady, Steuben, Sullivan, Tioga, Tompkins, Warren, Wayne and Wyoming
Disaster #2: Frost and freezes unseasonably warm temperatures, and excessive heat that occurred during the period of March 1, 2012 through April 30, 2012.
Disaster declaration for the primary counties of Allegany, Wayne and Wyoming.
Benefits are also available for the contiguous counties of Cattaraugus, Cayuga, Erie, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Seneca and Steuben.
Disaster #3: Frost, freezes, high winds, and hail that occurred during the period of March 26 through April 8, 2012.
Disaster declaration for the primary counties of Orange and Rockland.
Benefits are also available for the contiguous counties of Dutchess, Putnam, Sullivan and Ulster.
Designation # 4: Excessive snow and freezes that occurred during the period of April 1, through April 30, 2012.
Disaster declaration for the primary county of Tompkins.
Benefits are also available for the contiguous counties of Cayuga, Chemung, Cortland, Schulyer, Seneca and Tioga.