Washington, DC – Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) announced that U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Acting Secretary Charles F. Conner has designated Chautauqua and Erie counties primary disaster areas in response to the drought that started May 1, 2007. This announcement came in response to a letter sent to the USDA requesting the designation and a review of the Damage Assessment Reports for the New York counties impacted.
“An unusually hot and dry summer resulted in severe crop shortages for agri-businesses dependent on sufficient rain,” said Higgins. “This designation frees up resources available to help farmers get back on their feet and provides the support necessary to allow for the best opportunity for successful growing seasons in the years ahead.”
In total seven counties received the designation including: Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Lewis, Jefferson, Monroe and Ontario. The USDA also named several areas in New York State as contiguous disaster counties. These counties include: Cattaraugus, Herkimer, Livingston, Niagara, Oneida, Orleans, Oswego, Seneca, St. Lawrence, Steuben, Wayne, Wyoming and Yates.
This designation makes farm operators in both primary and contiguous counties eligible for low-interest emergency loans from the Farm Service Agency (FSA) provided all requirements are met. The FSA will consider each application on its own merit by taking into account the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability.
For Further information you can visit the Disaster Assistance page on the FSA website at: http://www.fsa.usda.gov. Additional assistance is also available by contacting the Erie County FSA office at (716) 652-1400 or the Chautauqua County FSA office at (716) 664-2351.