State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball today (Sept. 13) joined state leaders, representatives from the New York Farm Bureau, members of the U.S.Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Steuben and Yates counties to tour several farms in the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions affected by this summer’s drought.
In addition, Ball announced a new drought guide to help impacted farmers navigate the various resources available. The commissioner provided the resource guide to participants during a roundtable gathering hosted by state Sen. Thomas O’Mara to discuss the extent of the drought and plan to help farmers with recovery.
Two weeks ago, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that 24 counties across Upstate New York had been designated as a natural disaster area and since then, two additional counties have been added for a total of 26 counties.
There are also additional requests being reviewed by Farm Service Agency for counties seeking disaster declaration. These designations mean that farmers in those areas may be eligible for assistance, including emergency loans, from the Farm Service Agency.
Steuben and Yates counties were both designated as primary disaster counties, enabling eligible farms in these affected areas to qualify for loans and other assistance programs.