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Gov. Gregoire requests farm disaster assistance for all 39 Washington counties
Gov. Chris Gregoire announced she has asked U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to determine whether to designate the entire state of Washington a farm disaster area due to weather-related productions delays and crop losses.
The delays are the result of cold and wet weather conditions in every corner of the state throughout the spring and summer.
“Everyone knows we’ve had lousy weather this spring and summer, but most of us don’t suffer serious economic consequences as a result,” Gregoire said. “Farmers across the state have watched their crops develop late or fail to thrive during this year’s cold and wet weather. This is the first time in recent memory we’ve requested that USDA determine the extent of agricultural disaster statewide. My request is the first step in the process that allows growers to access any disaster mitigation tools they may need.”
If the USDA disaster declaration is approved, farmers may apply for federal disaster assistance payments through several programs administered by USDA’s Farm Service Agency. Farmers may also be eligible for emergency low-interest loans from USDA to cover production and farm property losses.
“Conditions this year have been difficult for our growers in every corner of our state,” said Dan Newhouse, director of the Washington State Department of Agriculture. “Cold temperatures and untimely rain have delayed production schedules and impacted yields. The growing season has progressed very slowly for vegetables, hay, tree fruit, berries and a host of other crops. Our experience this year is a reminder to all producers to consider purchasing the appropriate crop insurance.”
On a weekly basis, USDA publishes Crop Harvest and Condition Reports that outline the current agricultural conditions in the state.
Producers who experienced crop damage are encouraged to report that information to the nearest local USDA FSA office as soon as possible. USDA will determine whether a disaster declaration is warranted, as well as administer all relevant disaster relief programs.