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Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced Tuesday that assistance is available for farmers impacted by extreme rainfall and wet weather conditions last summer. Last week, the federal government declared 12 counties across the state as natural disaster areas. With these designations, farmers in the impacted areas may be eligible for assistance, including emergency loans, from the United States Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency.

"As extreme weather becomes the new normal, we must protect our farmers who all too often bear the brunt of these weather events with damaged crops and land," Cuomo said. "In the wake of the excessive rainfall experienced in these counties last year, the declarations will ensure farmers have access to emergency funds they need to help get them back on their feet and recover from these devastating losses."

March 2019 Declarations
In response to the extreme weather experienced in the summer of 2018, the federal government last week declared Allegany, Broome, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Columbia, Dutchess, Putnam, Rensselaer, Steuben, Suffolk, Tioga and Westchester counties as secondary disaster counties. The determination of a disaster declaration is based on reporting of on-farm production loss to the FSA.

Farmers in the eligible counties have eight months from the date of the disaster declaration to apply for emergency loans. FSA considers each emergency loan application based on the extent of production losses on the farm, as well as the security and repayment ability of the operator. Local FSA offices can provide affected farmers with further information.

2018 Declarations
Cuomo also reminded farmers about loan application deadlines approaching on April 1, 2019 for federal disaster declarations that were designated in Summer 2018.

In August 2018, Columbia, Dutchess Greene, Orange, Putnam, Rensselaer, and Ulster counties were designated as disaster counties due to damage from excessive and strong winds, hail, lightning and a tornado. Producers in these counties will have until April 1, 2019, to apply for emergency loans to help cover part of their actual losses.

Additionally, in February 2019, Orange County farmers were also made eligible for federal assistance when the county was designated as a disaster county as a result of excessive rain, moisture and storm-force winds from Hurricane Florence that occurred between July 20 through September 27, 2018. The deadline to apply for an emergency loan under this designation is October 4, 2019.

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