The United States Department of Agriculture has officially issued Disaster Declarations for the Wayne-Finger Lakes Region and other Upstate agricultural regions impacted by recent unseasonable temperature extremes, State Senator Mike Nozzolio has announced.
Under the disaster declarations, farmers in the affected areas will be able to apply for federal assistance and special loans to offset the cost of their crop losses.
The USDA issued the declarations for 32 Upstate counties, including Wayne, Seneca, Cayuga, Ontario, Monroe, Tompkins, Onondaga and Yates.
“This is a significant relief for our local farmers and fruit growers, and could only have been made possible by the quick response and efforts of Governor Cuomo and State Agriculture Commissioner Darrel Aubertine to bring federal attention to this issue,” said Senator Nozzolio “I thank the Governor, Commissioner Aubertine and all of my Senate colleagues who joined me in calling for federal assistance in the wake of this damage.”
Last month, Senator Nozzolio and more than 20 of his Senate colleagues from across Upstate New York wrote to Governor Cuomo to alert him of the serious situation occurring all around the region. The unexpected early thaw in March and April followed by sudden freezing temperatures had caused major damage to the fruit crops in Wayne County and the Finger Lakes Region. The full extent of the damage has not yet been determined and may not be known until after harvesting.
Farmers who are interested in applying for disaster assistance are advised to contact their local Farm Service Agency Office. For more information, contact the Farm Service Agency at (315) 477-6303 or go to www.fsa.usda.gov.
The agricultural industry is critical to Wayne County and the Finger Lakes Region,” said Senator Nozzolio. “I am pleased that our efforts will help ensure that farms and orchards will not be jeopardized because of the destruction caused by this unseasonable weather.”