Local farmers turn to officials for assistance in flood damage


AVRILL PARK, N.Y. (NEWS10) – This current stretch of dry weather is currently helping people in Rensselaer County who are still working around the clock to clean the mess from last week’s severe storms. The heavy rain has taken a toll on the agriculture industry.

“We could do without any additional rainfall for at least a month in a half,” says farmer Larry Eckhardt from Kinderhook Creek Farm in Stephentown. Larry wishes for brighter days ahead. “We haven’t had a lot of dry weather, we haven’t had a lot of sunshine — so as we look at the vegetable crops, we’re starting to see some deterioration and quality because it’s just waterlogged.”

Officials from the Rensselaer County U.S. Department of Agriculture say there are several resources and programs to help the local farmers. There are separate programs that help with destroyed crops, live stock, and other property loss.

“There’s 4-5 different programs that I have to apply for and give them a try,” says local beef cattle farmer Brian Bink. Brian’s property is still saturated from last week’s severe storms and unfortunately, nothing can be done immediately for Brian and the the other farmers.

“There is no immediate assistance, it isn’t like they’re going to bring us a check for 10-thousand dollars and a thank you very much, but we are appreciative for all the help we get,” says Larry.

Right now, it’s important for farmers to assess their damage. “Farmers can pick up the phone, give us a call — we’ll schedule a time to go out and look at that site and assess whether or not it falls into an eligible category and what assistance we can provide to them,” says Matthew Forrest, County Executive Director for the Rensselaer County Farm Service Agency.

Some farmers can apply to the USDA Emergency Conservation Program. The program is geared to provide funds and assistance in overcoming damage from storms. “A lot of other people who just have crop loss damage, standing water in fields, not just to last week’s storm, but all the wet weather we had– those people really need to either call in a claim with their crop insurance and their might be some program that comes out down the line which would cover some of those losses as well, but it’s not available immediately,” says Forrest.  

Although there’s not immediate action, farmers can work with local agriculture officials to make sure this damage doesn’t happen in the future.

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