Saturday, August 6, 2016

Sen. Schumer: Drought could mean trouble for area farmers

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer called on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to begin the process of issuing a disaster declaration to help Upstate New York farmers who suffer major losses and crop damage from the severe drought this summer. The senator is calling on USDA to stand ready to issue a Secretarial disaster declaration so low-interest emergency loans can be made available to eligible farmers. In addition, the senator is calling for USDA to work with farmers to document losses and process their claims for USDA disaster assistance programs.  
“I have seen in my travels around the state and heard from many growers that many fields are already parched from this summer’s drought – so the time is ripe for USDA to begin preparing for a disaster declaration for our Upstate New York farmers,” said U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer. “New York is home to countless quality farms, vineyards, and orchards, and this summer there is widespread concern that the drought will dramatically reduce their harvest and that growers won't have the cash flow to replant. That is why I am putting the U.S. Department of Agriculture on notice to marshal its resources, start the assessment process early and be ready to provide swift relief to farmers across Upstate New York.”
Upstate New York is currently facing a severe drought which could have a severe impact on farmers who could suffer from complete -or-partial crop or pasture losses, water shortages, and water restrictions. Small farmers across many counties -- especially 22 counties in the Southern Tier, Rochester-Finger Lakes region, Central New York, Western New York – have already detected evidence of serious drought conditions, which is why Schumer is calling on USDA and it’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices, to mobilize resources well in advance so the USDA can deliver quick relief to impacted farmers and growers. 
Following crop losses due to severe droughts conditions, growers often suffer from cash flow problems that impact their ability to replant quickly and also impact production for several years into the future, which is why Schumer is concerned about the damage to Upstate New York farmers and growers. Schumer said USDA should begin preparing for this emergency to help farmers that sustained losses to recover and stay viable for years to come.
USDA has several programs like the  Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) for livestock losses, Livestock Forage Program (LFP) for grazing losses, and Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) for other losses, and Tree Assistance Program (TAP) for tree and vine mortality.