Governor Rick Snyder has requested federal disaster assistance from USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack for the farmers in Michigan counties who are facing substantial crop losses due to extreme weather conditions. Fruit crop losses were particularly impacted by high temperatures followed by freezing temperatures. Other weather conditions, including excessive snow, blizzards, high winds, hail, tornadoes, flooding, excessive rain, and lightening that occurred between January 1 through May 11, have also impacted farms and are part of the disaster declaration request.
"Our farming community members are looking at large crop losses – currently estimated at $223.5 million. Michigan's food and agriculture producers have a substantial impact on the economy and it is important those farmers have access to additional resources, such as low-interest loans," says Snyder. "We will be working closely with our state and federal partners to provide assistance to Michigan's farmers, food processors, and fresh market producers to help keep their businesses moving forward during this difficult time."
Seventy-two counties in both the Upper and Lower Peninsulas have experienced severe weather, which has been most devastating to the state's fruit and asparagus crop production. MDARD is working with the USDA-Farm Service Agency (FSA) to monitor the damage and its impact to growers and the fresh and processing food industries. FSA is expecting to compile and complete crop damage estimates by July 1. USDA-FSA is the agency responsible for compiling the official crop loss statistics and administering the federal emergency farm loan programs.
Original crop loss estimates must be verified from harvest yield data and if losses of 30% or more are confirmed, the disaster request will be granted. The disaster request will give eligible state producers access to USDA-FSA's low-interest emergency loan program for up to 100% of their weather-related agriculture production losses.
For more information on the federal emergency farm loan programs, please visit the USDA-FSA Web site at http://www.fsa.usda.gov.