Disaster aid available for 2011 crops

By:  David Lester
Source: The Yakima Herald

YAKIMA, Wash. — Central Washington farmers who suffered crop losses due to the cool and wet spring of 2011 are eligible for emergency assistance under a federal disaster designation announced Monday.

Farmers in Yakima, Kittitas, Benton, and Klickitat counties can apply for emergency loan assistance and other programs.

The four counties are among 35 included in the designation by U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

The loss period covers the first seven months of 2011 for the combined effects of excessive rain, flooding, below-normal temperatures, high winds, frosts and freezes.

Tree fruits, vegetables, grapes, hay and wheat were particularly affected, U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell said in a news release.

"This disaster designation will help farmers recover and rebuild after last year’s losses," a news release quoted Cantwell. "I encourage eligible farmers to take advantage of this disaster designation and apply for emergency assistance."