Cantwell, Murray: WA Farmers Eligible for Assistance for 2010 Losses

20 counties given federal USDA disaster designation; can receive assistance for losses suffered from extreme weather

SEATTLE, WA – Today, U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Patty Murray (D-WA) announced that farmers in 20 Washington state counties are now eligible to apply for emergency assistance to offset losses suffered during extreme weather conditions in April 2010. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) designated Adams, Benton, Chelan, Clark, Columbia, Cowlitz, Douglas, Franklin, Grant, Grays Harbor, Island, Klickitat, Pacific, San Juan, Skagit, Snohomish, Wahkiakum, Walla Walla, Whatcom and Yakima Counties as primary disaster areas, making farmers and producers in these areas eligible to apply for USDA emergency funding. Cantwell, Murray, and the rest of the Washington delegation wrote Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack in July, supporting of Governor Christine Gregoire’s June request for immediate disaster designations stemming from the weather-related losses.
“Washington’s farmers suffered severe losses after last spring’s severe weather,” Senator Cantwell said. “This federal assistance will help farmers maintain productive farms while they recover and rebuild after last year’s storms. I encourage our farmers to take advantage of this emergency aid.”  
“Washington state farmers have been hit hard this season, and I am very glad that they are now going to get the support they need to get back on their feet,” said Senator Murray.
The losses in these counties were caused by the combined effects of excessive rain, frosts, freezes, unseasonably cold weather and high winds. Tree fruits, vegetables, hay and wheat were particularly damaged. 
In addition to the twenty counties that have been designated as primary natural disaster areas, twelve counties have been named contiguous disaster counties: Garfield, Jefferson, King, Kittitas, Lewis, Lincoln, Mason, Okanogan, Pierce, Skamania, Thurston, and Whitman. Farmers in both the primary and contiguous counties are eligible to be considered for assistance from the Farm Service Agency (FSA), as well as the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments (SURE) Program. Farmers in eligible counties have 8 months from the date of the Secretarial disaster declaration for apply for emergency loan assistance. People seeking more information should contact their local FSA offices.