Maryland Receives Federal Crop Disaster Designation for 15 Counties due to Widespread Crop Losses Resulting from Extreme Weather
ANNAPOLIS, MD – Governor Martin O’Malley received approval from U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Thomas J. Vilsack for Maryland’s request for a disaster designation for widespread crop losses due to extreme weather conditions this year, which included excessive heat, drought, and damage resulting from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee.
“Because farmers throughout most of Maryland experienced significant crop losses, we requested a disaster designation and thank Secretary Vilsack for granting it,” said Governor O’Malley. “It is our hope that the designation will provide relief to the farmers who need it and help them prepare for the next growing season.”
“From April through October, Maryland farmers experienced widespread crop losses due to a variety of extreme weather conditions ranging from excessive heat, drought and flooding,” said Buddy Hance, secretary of the Maryland Department of Agriculture. “Farmers in the disaster designation areas experienced market value losses exceeding 30 percent.”
This designation makes farm operators in the 15 primary counties - Calvert, Caroline, Cecil, Dorchester, Frederick, Howard, Kent, Montgomery, Queen Anne's, St. Mary's, Somerset, Talbot, Washington, Wicomico and Worcester - as well as the counties of Allegany, Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Charles, Harford, Prince George's, and the independent city of Baltimore - eligible to be considered for assistance from the USDA Farm Service Agency, provided eligibility requirements are met. Farmers must have purchased crop insurance on eligible crops to quality for USDA disaster assistance programs.
This assistance includes USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) emergency loans and the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments (SURE) Program. Farmers in eligible counties 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. SURE Program applications for 2011 crop losses will be accepted in 2012, when the 2011 farm revenue data required by statute becomes available.