U.S. Congressman Frank A. LoBiondo (NJ-02) today announced that significant agricultural production losses in Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Ocean and Salem have warranted a Secretarial disaster declaration by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The declaration cites the combined effects of drought, high winds from June's Derecho, excessive heat and rain, flash flooding, destruction from snowstorms and the direct impact of Hurricane Sandy.
"The sheer force of weather and extreme conditions that pummeled South Jersey in the summer and fall of last year was far beyond what our farms and crops could handle. It was appropriate to request federal assistance and I'm pleased USDA Secretary Vilsack has granted a Secretarial disaster declaration across the region," said LoBiondo. "With this declaration, farm operators will have access to emergency loans through the Farm Service Agency to recoup their losses and rebuild their operations. I appreciate Governor Christie's efforts to ensure the critically-important agricultural sector of our state -- and the backbone of South Jersey -- was not forgotten."
LoBiondo supported multiple applications for disaster declarations for South Jersey farmers due to various extreme weather conditions in 2012. Sussex county was also included in today's Secretarial disaster designation. The official USDA letter to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is attached.