USDA designates North Country as Primary Agriculture Disaster area

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Mary Creek, of Hagerstown, Md., feeds hay to six-month old Alyshire calves Wednesday morning, Oct. 30, 2019, at Palmyra Farm south of Hagerstown, Md. The farm was recently named Washington County Farm of the Year for 2019. Mary Creek and her brother Ralph Shank own the family run 300-acre dairy farm with their herd of registered Alyshire, Holstein and Jersey cattle. (Colleen McGrath/The Herald-Mail via AP)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (NEWS10) – U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Schuylerville, announced Thursday that the entirety of her NY-21 congressional district has been given a Primary Agriculture Disaster Designation by the United States Department of Agriculture.

The designation, given after rain and other weather patterns led to the crop losses for farmers through the North Country, will open up affected farmers and farm operators to eligibility for emergency loans and other assistance from the Farm Service Agency.

“I am glad USDA has made this designation and will be offering aid to producers, who are vital to the North Country,” said Stefanik in a release. “I encourage any farmers who have questions about this application process to reach out to my offices directly.”

Farm operators interested in seeking emergency loans have 8 months to do so, and are encouraged to act quickly.

This isn’t the first time in recent years an emergency declaration has hit North Country agricultural communities. In 2016, Warren, Washington and Essex counties were among 51 total included in a disaster declaration spurred by drought that season.

Data from the 2017 USDA Ag Census reported 33,438 farms in New York. According to data from the New York Farm Bureau, the state ranked 1st place for dairy products such as cottage cheese, sour cream and yogurt, as well as 2nd for apples, snap peas, cabbage and maple syrup.

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