Disaster assistance asked for Cass farmers
Published 7:51 am Tuesday, August 4, 2009
LANSING – Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm Monday officially requested federal disaster assistance from U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack for farmers in 27 Michigan counties who are facing fruit, vegetable and other frost-sensitive crop losses because of severe frost, freeze, snows and cold weather last spring.
Requests were based upon 30 percent or more in loss estimates calculated locally in each county.
“Maintaining the viability of Michigan agriculture is vital to the health and welfare of our citizens as our farmers grow and produce the food we eat everyday,” said Granholm. “This disaster declaration is a fundamental first step to insuring Michigan farmers have the additional resources they need to overcome Mother Nature’s challenges and continue to provide us with fresh, wholesome products.”
From Nov. 1, 2008, to July 24, 2009, 27 counties experienced frost/freeze conditions that particularly affected fruit and vegetable production such as apples and cherries.
The impacted counties are in both the Upper and Lower Peninsulas.
Federal, state, and local agencies are working together to quickly and effectively assess crop losses and expedite the process to obtain a federal agricultural disaster declaration.
The Michigan Department of Agriculture is working with the USDA-Farm Service Agency (FSA) to compile crop damage estimates due to Michigan’s current extreme weather conditions.
USDA-FSA is the agency responsible for compiling official crop loss statistics and administering federal emergency farm loan programs.
For Michigan to receive federal disaster status, the original crop loss estimates must be verified from harvest yield data.
If losses of 30 percent or more are confirmed, and the disaster request is granted, eligible state producers will have access to USDA-FSA’s low-interest emergency loan program for up to 100 percent of their weather-related agriculture production losses.
For more information on federal emergency farm loan programs, visit the USDA-FSA Web site at http://www.fsa.usda.gov.