Troxler reminds farmers to document freeze damage
With federal disaster assistance now available, Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler reminds farmers who suffered crop damage during the Easter weekend freeze to document their losses.
“When you apply for federal assistance, nothing speaks louder than pictures or video,” Troxler said. “Some of the freeze damage is just now becoming evident, so it’s important to keep taking photographs or shooting video of affected plants and trees.”
In May, the U.S. Department of Agriculture designated 47 North Carolina counties as disaster areas because of freezing temperatures the state experienced April 6-9. The USDA also included 46 contiguous counties as part of the designation for assistance.
The designation means that eligible farmers in the 93 counties can be considered for low-interest emergency loans from the Farm Service Agency. A list of the counties is available online at www.ncagr.com/paffairs/freezecounties.htm.
In addition, President Bush recently signed federal legislation that provides crop production loss assistance to farmers for natural disasters that occurred in 2005, 2006 or 2007. The losses for 2007 are covered if the crop was planted before Feb. 28.
Farmers should contact the FSA office in their area, or the North Carolina FSA office at (919) 875-4800, for information about assistance programs.
Subfreezing temperatures during Easter weekend caused widespread crop damage in North Carolina. Affected crops included apples, blueberries, peaches, wheat, corn and nursery stock. The total loss estimate currently stands at $105 million statewide, but that number could change as farmers and agriculture officials continue to assess damage.