Agriculture Secretary Charles M.
Kuperus announced today that New Jersey's request for
a federal drought disaster designation has been approved,
making farmers who have suffered significant crop losses
eligible for federal financial assistance.
"Farmers in New Jersey have suffered significant
losses to important crops and livestock resulting
from the extended drought," said Governor James
E. McGreevey, who requested the disaster designation. "This
designation will ensure that they can receive needed
assistance to help compensate them for those losses."
"The sustained heat and lack of rain made
this a very hard year for New Jersey farmers," said
Paul Hlubik, state executive director of the U.S.
Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency. "Virtually
every sector of the agricultural industry has been
affected. Many New Jersey farmers have suffered losses
of 50 percent or more in various commodities, most
notably corn and soybeans."
"The Farm Service Agency deserves credit for
all its work in coordinating the county-by-county
damage assessment reporting that formed the justification
for the designation," said Secretary Kuperus. "This
designation is essential to providing our farmers
with the help they need to keep their operations
in business and to make sure that, for years to come,
our farms will continue to be productive."
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Ann M. Veneman announced
the agricultural natural disaster designation today
that applies to 19 primary counties: Atlantic, Bergen,
Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex,
Gloucester, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth,
Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex and
The declaration makes farmers in those counties
eligible to apply for low-interest emergency loans
and farm credit programs through the U.S. Department
of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency. Farmers in
counties contiguous to primary counties also are
eligible for this assistance.
Farmers in primary counties also are eligible for
payments through the USDA's Livestock Compensation
Program to help compensate them for the costs of
lost pasture and other sources of feed.
Farmers seeking financial assistance should contact
their local Farm Service Agency office.