Governor Requests Federal
LANSING — Due to extreme spring weather conditions causing potentially severe crop damage and losses in several areas of the state, Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today announced she has requested federal disaster assistance for farmers in the 27 affected Michigan counties. The request, in a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman, was based on 30 percent or more loss estimates in at least one agricultural commodity from each of the included counties.
“We are deeply committed to working with our federal partners to ensure that impacted Michigan farm families, which are such an important anchor in so many of our communities, have access to resources to help them overcome these challenges,” Governor Granholm said.
Some of the counties experienced extreme temperature fluctuations, including freezing rain and periods of abnormally warm weather followed by temperatures as low as 24 degrees Fahrenheit from Feb. 28 to May 3. Especially hard hit by these particular conditions were various fruit crops, including grapes for wine, maple sap and asparagus. Other counties were impacted by heavy rains, flooding, hail and high winds that occurred over a period from May 7 to 20. These conditions caused significant damage to various fruit crops and new seedlings and also prevented the timely planting of corn, soybeans, cucumbers and summer squash.
While affected counties are primarily located in the western part of the state along the length of the Lake Michigan shoreline, a few other counties across the state also experienced losses. The 27 counties are: Allegan, Antrim, Benzie, Berrien, Cass, Charlevoix, Grand Traverse, Hillsdale, Ingham, Ionia, Kalamazoo, Kent, Leelanau, Livingston, Macomb, Manistee, Marquette, Mason, Monroe, Montcalm, Muskegon, Newaygo, Oceana, Ottawa, St. Clair, Van Buren, and Wexford.
Granholm added that the state, through the Michigan Department of Agriculture, will continue to work closely with federal agencies to assess crop losses and expedite the process as much as possible for obtaining a federal agricultural disaster declaration to provide some relief to the state’s critically important and diverse agriculture industry, which contributes 37 billion annually to the Michigan economy and produces more than 125 commodities commercially.
In order for federal disaster status to be granted, original crop loss estimates must be verified from harvest yield data. If losses of 30 percent or more are confirmed and the request is granted, eligible producers will have access to low-interest emergency loans for up to 100 percent of their weather-related production losses from the US. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency, which is the agency responsible for compiling official crop loss statistics and administering federal emergency farm loan programs.
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