Sep 1, 2016
Drought spurs disaster declaration in New York

The federal government has declared 24 counties across upstate New York as a natural disaster area 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 USDA Farm Service Agency.

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

Contiguous disaster counties include:

Western New York

  • Allegany
  • Cattaraugus
  • Chautauqua

Southern Tier

  • Broome

Central New York

  • Cortland
  • Onondaga
  • Oswego

Finger Lakes

  • Orleans
  • Wayne

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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