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Governor, Agriculture Secretary Remind Farmers of Available Aid

For Immediate Release: July 29, 2004


Jeff Beach




(TRENTON) – Reports issued by the USDA’s Farm Service Agency show the storm and floods of July 12-13 caused more than $2 million in farmland and farm property damage in Burlington and Camden counties, New Jersey Agriculture Secretary Charles M. Kuperus said today.

Damage to crops will not fully be known until harvesting ends, but farms in the flood zone reported roughly 50-percent losses in a variety of fruits and vegetables, according to the damage reports.

Governor James E. McGreevey and Secretary Kuperus today reminded farmers in the affected area that state and federal programs and emergency aid are available to help them recover from the effects of the storm.

“My administration is working to make sure any farmer who suffered losses due to this 1,000-year storm finds the help necessary to recover from that damage,” said Governor McGreevey. “While this storm impacted a small portion of the state, every farmer in New Jersey is important to keeping our agricultural industry strong.”

Secretary Kuperus noted the irony of the storm damage coming in a year that otherwise had seen favorable weather for farming throughout the state.

“In what has otherwise been a banner year for crops in New Jersey, this localized event in Burlington and Camden counties has made us all aware of the unpredictable impact weather can have on our agricultural industry,” said Secretary Kuperus. “We will do all we can to monitor the long-term effects of this storm and to help farmers in that area access the state and federal aid that is available to them.”

Shortly after the storm, Governor McGreevey declared a State of Emergency in the flood area and asked President Bush to declare Burlington and Camden counties Federal Disaster Areas, which the President did on July 16. That action made farmers in Burlington and Camden counties, as well as all contiguous counties, eligible to apply for emergency loans at 3.75 percent through the FSA for any storm-related damage.

Additional state aid was made available to the municipalities involved in the flood when the Joint Budget Oversight Committee approved the Governor’s request for $7.2 million in immediate flood relief to Burlington and Camden counties.

The Governor and Secretary Kuperus, along with other state and county officials, toured the flood zone on July 23 and met with mayors of the affected towns. The Department also mailed letters to all 380 farmers in the area hit by the flood to alert them to aid that is available.

The Secretary commended the Farm Service Agency for the work it has done to help farmers in the flood zone since July 13 and for the emergency loans being made available.

“Both the New Jersey State Office and the FSA regional offices covering Burlington and Camden counties have been of immeasurable help in providing an accurate picture of the storm’s effects,” said Secretary Kuperus. “Their assistance to the farmers in that area is greatly appreciated.”

Among the programs available to farmers are:

- Federal emergency loans of 3.75 percent through the Farm Service Agency. Applications will be accepted through March 16, 2005. The FSA can be reached in Burlington and Camden counties at (609) 267-1639.
- Cost-share services on a 50-50 basis are available for farms either permanently preserved or in the eight-year agricultural commitment under the Farmland Preservation Program. Projects designed for soil and water conservation practices may be eligible. For more information, call the Department’s Division of Agricultural & Natural Resources at (609) 292-5532.
- Dam Repair Loans through the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection can be obtained at 2-percent interest to fix agricultural dams damaged by the storm. For more information, call the DEP Dam Safety Loan Program at (609) 984-0859.
- For all other aid questions, the Federal Emergency Management Agency can be reached at 1-800-621-FEMA or at 1-800-462-7585 (TTY for the Hearing Impaired).