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Total of 15 Counties Now Impacted by Season’s Severe Weather
For Immediate Release: September 9, 2009
Contact: Lynne Richmond
(609) 633-2954

(TRENTON) – Governor Jon S. Corzine has sent a second letter to United States Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack asking him to include nine additional counties in a natural disaster designation for damage incurred this growing season due to a tornado and other weather-related issues.

On August 11, Governor Corzine asked Secretary Vilsack for a disaster designation for Burlington, Camden, Mercer, Ocean, Sussex and Warren Counties.  Since then, other counties have reported that farmers there have sustained crop losses and property damage attributed to rain, winds, and hail this year. The new counties are:  Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Hunterdon, Middlesex, Monmouth, Salem and Somerset. 

“I want to make sure that we are doing everything in our power as quickly as possible to get these farmers the help they need so they can continue farming in our state, which is so vital to both our economy and quality of life,” said Governor Corzine.  “Weather-related problems over the past few months have hurt crops and property all across our state.  A disaster designation is essential for farmers to become eligible for already existing federal relief programs.”

On July 29, a tornado touched down in Sussex County, completely devastating some farms, damaging barns and silos and uprooting trees.  In addition, since mid-April, various rain storms, some with damaging winds and hail, have caused problems for various crops.

“We are grateful for Governor Corzine’s leadership in seeking this aid swiftly so farmers have the opportunity to start rebounding from their losses,” said New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher.  “I personally have seen some of the damage and these losses have been devastating to the farm owner.” 

The disaster designation request covers losses from April 15 to the present.  The Secretarial Disaster Designation would make farm operators who suffered 30 percent or more on losses directly due to the harsh weather eligible to be considered for low-interest emergency loans from Farm Service Agency (FSA), provided eligibility requirements are met.  The loans could cover up to 100 percent of the dollar value of the losses. 

Farmers would have eight months from the date of any declaration to apply for loans to help cover part of their actual losses.  FSA considers each loan application on its own merits, taking into account the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability.

USDA also has other programs available to assist farmers.  For more information, visit: