As the extreme drought continues into the Finger Lakes of New York, USDA has named Allegany, Cattaraugus, Cortland, Onondaga, and Orleans counties in New York as primary natural disaster areas due to losses caused by a recent drought. This expands upon the original designation.
Growers in Broome, Cayuga, Chautauqua, Chenango, Erie, Genesee, Livingston, Madison, Monroe, Niagara, Oswego, Steuben, Tioga, Tompkins, and Wyoming counties also qualify for disaster assistance since the counties are contiguous to the original disaster designation.
Pennsylvania growers in McKean, Potter, and Warren counties also qualify for natural disaster assistance because their counties are contiguous to the original disaster area.
“Our hearts go out to those New York farmers and ranchers affected by recent natural disasters,” Tom Vilsack, USDA secretary says. “President Obama and I are committed to ensuring that agriculture remains a bright spot in our nation’s economy by sustaining the successes of America’s farmers, ranchers, and rural communities through these difficult times. We’re also telling New York producers that USDA stands with you and your communities when severe weather and natural disasters threaten to disrupt your livelihood.”
All counties listed above were designated natural disaster areas on Sep. 9, 2016, making all qualified farm operators in the designated areas eligible for low interest emergency (EM) loans from USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), provided eligibility requirements are met. Farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of the declaration to apply for loans to help cover part of their actual losses. FSA will consider each loan application on its own merits, taking into account the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability. FSA has a variety of programs, in addition to the EM loan program, to help eligible farmers recover from adversity.
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. Interested farmers may contact their local USDA Service Centers for further information on eligibility requirements and application procedures for these and other programs.