October 6, 2011

USDA Approves Statewide Disaster Declaration for RI Farmers

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has approved natural disaster declaration assistance for all Rhode Island farmers that suffered damage as a result of Tropical Storm Irene. This declaration paves the way for farmers throughout Rhode Island to seek financial assistance for their losses due to the severe weather.

Previously, the USDA had made farmers in Bristol, Newport, and Providence counties eligible for disaster assistance. Today’s announcement ensures that effected farmers in Kent and Washington counties are also able to apply for federal assistance from the Farm Service Agency (FSA).

“We appreciate the Obama Administration moving quickly to approve this declaration for the entire state. Our farmers are critical to Rhode Island’s economy and many of them sustained significant damage as a result of Irene. This statewide declaration will ensure that all farmers who need help can access recovery assistance,” said Reed and Whitehouse.

FSA assistance includes emergency loans and the supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments (SURE) program. The low-interest loans may be used to restore or replace essential property, pay all or part of production costs associated with the disaster, and to help reorganize the farming operation.

Farmers have eight months from the date of a Secretarial disaster declaration to apply for emergency loan assistance. FSA will consider each emergency loan application on its own merits, taking into account the extent of production losses, security available, and repayment ability.

On September 6th Governor Chafee requested the disaster declaration for Rhode Island’s agriculture industry and Senators Reed and Whitehouse wrote to the USDA in support of the state’s request.


Press Contact

Meaghan McCabe, (202) 224-2921