TRENTON – Gov. Jon S. Corzine has sent a second letter to United States Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack asking him to include nine additional counties – including Middlesex – in a natural disaster designation for damage incurred this growing season due to a tornado and other weather-related issues.
On Aug. 11, Corzine asked Vilsack for a disaster designation for Burlington, Camden, Mercer, Ocean, Sussex and Warren Counties. Since then, other counties have reported that farmers there have sustained crop losses and property damage attributed to rain, winds, and hail this year. The new counties are: Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Hunterdon, Middlesex, Monmouth, Salem and Somerset.
On July 29, a tornado touched down in Sussex County, completely devastating some farms, damaging barns and silos and uprooting trees. In addition, since mid-April, various rainstorms, some with damaging winds and hail, have caused problems for various crops.
“I personally have seen some of the damage and these losses have been devastating to the farm owner said New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher.”
The disaster designation request covers losses from April 15 to the present. The Secretarial Disaster Designation would make farm operators who suffered 30 percent or more on losses directly due to the harsh weather eligible to be considered for low-interest emergency loans from Farm Service Agency (FSA), provided eligibility requirements are met. The loans could cover up to 100 percent of the dollar value of the losses.
Farmers would have eight months from the date of any declaration to apply for loans to help cover part of their actual losses. FSA considers each loan application on its own merits, taking into account the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability.
USDA also has other programs available to assist farmers. For more information, visit: http://disaster.fsa.usda.gov.
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