U.S. Congressman Frank A. LoBiondo (NJ-02) today announced that significant agricultural production losses in Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem counties have warranted a Secretarial disaster declaration by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Additionally, Atlantic, Camden and Cape May were named as contiguous disaster counties. The declaration cites the combined effects of excessive rain, related flooding, high winds and hail that occurred from the May 22nd storm.
"The USDA's approval of the state's request is welcome news for South Jersey farmers. The sheer amount of rain, flooding and extreme weather we experienced this May dampened the growing season and was far beyond what our crops could handle. It was appropriate to request federal assistance and I'm pleased USDA Secretary Vilsack has granted a disaster declaration for our counties," 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 the past few years. New Castle, Delaware as well as Delaware and Philadelphia counties in Pennsylvania were also included as contiguous disaster counties in today's Secretarial disaster designation. The designation makes eligible certain assistance from the Farm Service Agency to farms in those counties, including emergency loans.