U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has approved Governor Phil Scott’s request for a Secretarial Disaster Designation in response to July’s historic flooding, which impacted thousands of acres of Vermont farmland. This comes on the heels of a widespread frost event in May, and is the second disaster declaration, emphasizing the difficult growing season that Vermont’s farmers have faced this year.
“The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reviewed the Loss Assessment Reports and determined that there were sufficient production losses to warrant a Secretarial natural disaster designation; therefore, I am designating all 14 Vermont counties as primary natural disaster areas,” Secretary Vilsack wrote to Governor Scott.
“Alongside many of their neighbors, our farmers have been greatly impacted by the floods this summer, threatening their livelihoods and our food system,” said Governor Scott. “I’m grateful to Secretary Vilsack for this second disaster declaration, which will help farmers recover and find a path forward through the many challenges they’ve faced this year.”
This Secretarial disaster designation from USDA makes farm operators across Vermont eligible to be considered for Farm Service Agency (FSA) emergency loans, provided eligibility requirements are met. Farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of a Secretarial disaster declaration to apply for emergency loans.
“I want to thank Secretary Vilsack for this second declaration,” said Vermont Agriculture Secretary Anson Tebbetts. “With over $16 million in farmer-reported flood related damage and losses, and severe impacts from frost this May, our farming community has faced a one-two punch this year that some may not survive. This designation can provide a lifeline to these important farm and food businesses with resources until next year’s growing season.”Source : vermont.gov