Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-3) and the entire Connecticut Congressional delegation held a teleconference call with farmers from the around the state affected by Tropical Storm Irene and representatives from the Farm Service Agency (FSA), the National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and the Connecticut Department of Agriculture to address their concerns and discuss the ongoing recovery efforts.
With many farms and their crops damaged or destroyed by Tropical Storm Irene, Connecticut farmers are in need of federal assistance. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, including the FSA and the NRCS, has several assistance programs available to farmers, including: emergency funding to rehabilitate farmland, financial assistance to producers of non-insurable crops, and emergency farm loans and financial assistance to help recover from production and physical losses.
The delegation was joined by Marsha Jette, Executive Director of the Farm Service Agency's Connecticut office, Jay Mar of the National Resources Conservation Service, and Commissioner Steve Reviczky of the Connecticut Department of Agriculture in responding to the farmers' questions. The next steps for more federal assistance were also explained, which requires a disaster declaration submitted by Governor Malloy to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. If approved, this declaration would expand access to critical federal aid to help Connecticut's farmers recover and rebuild.
"Tropical Storm Irene, with its strong winds and resulting flooding and power outages, wreaked havoc on homes and farms across Connecticut. The storm left many of our residents displaced, under water and without power, and many crops sustained damage from not only the wind and rain, but also flooding and power outages, meaning a lack of refrigeration for crops. It is our responsibility to ensure our towns and farms have the resources they need to quickly recover from such storms," said Congresswoman DeLauro. "I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues and our farmers to ensure a disaster declaration and the following federal assistance will be secured."
"With many farmers throughout the First Congressional District and State of Connecticut suffering from lost crops, livestock and damaged lands thanks to Hurricane Irene and subsequent flooding, I am eager to work with the rest of our state delegation to provide whatever assistance we can to help these men and women recover from these damages," said Congressman Larson. "I urge the Farm Service Agency and local Farm Bureaus to continue to assess the damages quickly so that our State can receive the maximum access to federal assistance available through the USDA."
"Like other small business owners, Connecticut farmers who were devastated by Tropical Storm Irene need help to recover," said Congressman Courtney. "As Connecticut's only member on the House Agriculture Committee, I will continue my efforts to ensure that our farmers have access to emergency resources that are vital to the continued success of their businesses."
"This conversation is incredibly important to have, and I thank Congresswoman DeLauro and Congressman Courtney for their leadership on behalf of farmers across Connecticut. While we were spared most of the storm's wind in the Fifth District, we were not spared by its water. And although the flooding from Irene was devastating, this isn't the first time we've seen it like this," said Congressman Murphy. "This latest flooding really underscores the critical need for some long-term solutions so we can better control these rivers when they threaten homes and businesses in the future."