The USDA designated 15 counties in New York as primary natural disaster areas, due to crop loses and abnormally dry conditions. More than 27% of the state is in a severe drought and more than 6% is in extreme drought, according to data from the U.S. Drought Monitor. The majority of that dry area in Western New York.
New York growers in Cayuga, Chemung, Erie, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Niagara, Ontario, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Tioga, Tompkins, Wyoming, and Yates counties are eligible for natural disaster assistance.
Also, growers in Allegany, Broome, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Cortland, Onondaga, Orleans, Oswego, and Wayne counties in New York also are eligible for natural disaster assistance because their counties are contiguous to the primary disaster designations.
Growers in four counties in Pennsylvania — Bradford, Potter, Susquehanna, and Tioga counties — also qualify for natural disaster assistance because their counties are contiguous.
Massachusetts and New Hampshire also have been hit with an abnormally dry summer, according to data from the U.S. Drought Monitor. More than 19% of New Hampshire is in a severe drought, and more than 4% is in an extreme drought. While Massachusetts has fared worse, with more than 72% of the state in severe drought, and nearly 17% of the state in extreme drought.
Brad Rippley of the USDA says the 1.12 inches of rainfall in Manchester, NH, registered on Aug. 22 was the first 1-inch daily total in the area since Sept. 30, 2015. He also says Buffalo’s year-to-date precipitation is 66% of a typical year, or 8.25 inches below normal.
The USDA also designated Hillsboro, Merrimack, and Rockingham counties in New Hampshire as primary natural disasters due to the abnormally dry summer.
Growers in Belknap, Cheshire, Grafton, Strafford, and Sullivan counties in New Hampshire as well as Massachusetts growers in Essex, Middlesex, and Worcester counties also are eligible for natural disaster assistance because the counties are contiguous to the primary disaster areas.
Growers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of the declaration – which was Aug. 29 – to apply for loans to help cover part of their actual losses.
Other FSA programs that can provide assistance, but do not require a disaster declaration, include the Emergency Conservation Program; Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program; and the Tree Assistance Program.