Upstate New York counties designated natural disaster areas due to drought

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Freeze Takes Toll on Crops_6143107975345882707

On Wednesday, 24 counties across Upstate New York were designated as a natural disaster area by the federal government as a result of this summer’s drought.

These designations mean that farmers in those areas may be eligible for assistance, including emergency loans, from the United State Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency.

Additionally, State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball, state lawmakers and other farm leaders will be conducting on-site assessments of farms affected by the drought, while the state works closely with Cornell University expert hydrologists and climate professors to help understand and study the outlook for recovery.

Disaster declaration is based on reporting of crop loss to the federal Farm Service Agency and a D3 designation by the U.S. Drought Monitor.

The federal government declared 15 counties as primary natural disaster areas and an additional nine counties as contiguous disaster counties due to a recent drought.

In addition, several other counties in the North Country, the Finger Lakes, Central New York, and the Southern Tier regions are also requesting primary disaster declarations.

The primary counties included under this designation are in Western New York, Finger Lakes, Central New York, and Southern Tier and they include:

Western New York

  • Erie
  • Niagara

Finger Lakes

  • Genesee
  • Livingston
  • Monroe
  • Ontario
  • Seneca
  • Wyoming
  • Yates

Central New York

  • Cayuga

Southern Tier

  • Chemung
  • Schuyler
  • Steuben
  • Tioga
  • Tompkins

The federal government also named nine counties in the Finger Lakes, Western New York, Southern Tier, and Central New York as contiguous disaster counties. They include:

Western New York

  • Allegany
  • Cattaraugus
  • Chautauqua

Southern Tier

  • Broome


Central New York

  • Cortland
  • Onondaga
  • Oswego

Finger Lakes

  • Orleans
  • Wayne

A disaster designation makes farm operators in primary counties and those counties contiguous eligible to be considered for certain assistance from the Farm Service Agency, provided eligibility requirements are met.

This assistance includes emergency loans. Farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of the disaster declaration to apply for emergency loans.

The Farm Service Agency considers each emergency loan application based on the extent of production losses on the farm, and the security and repayment ability of the operator.

Local FSA offices can provide affected farmers with further information. Contact information for the offices can be found here.

The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, along with its Soil and Water Conservation Districts, Farm Bureau, Cornell Cooperative Extension and the Cornell Eden program, recommend that farmers affected by the drought should continue to document their conditions (pictures and video), and any losses. Farmers can also file a CCC- 576 (Notice of Loss) with their local USDA Farm Service Agency.

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