U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is calling on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to issue an agriculture disaster declaration to send relief to farms in St. Lawrence and Lewis counties.
"We need these federal resources on the ground without delay so we can help our farms recover and support our economy,” the New York Democrat said.
Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, said severe flooding is destroying roads and bridges, isolating local dairy farms, and damaging feed, bunker silos and wells.
The ongoing flooding also threatens to submerge farmland and poses a significant threat to livestock, the press release said.
“When New York’s farmers struggle, our entire economy struggles,” Gillibrand said. “Heavy flooding is wiping out roads and bridges, isolating farms, destroying resources that keep them operating, and threatening to leave many farms under water.”
Gillibrand is calling for the swift disaster declaration for Lewis and St. Lawrence Counties, which could extend to additional counties as damage continues to be reported by local farm agencies.
A disaster declaration by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack can authorize release of federal resources that provide a range of assistance to farmers, including low-interest emergency loans, technical assistance to repair damage, and help to replenish lost livestock.