U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Sonny Perdue, approved a natural disaster designation for 43 Upstate New York counties that suffered heavy rains and severe flooding during the 2019 farming season. This designation allows communities hurt by extreme weather to access certain federal assistance, such as emergency loans and other aid programs, from the Farm Service Agency (FSA) to help recover their losses.

Specifically, Albany, Allegany, Cattaraugus, Cayuga, Chautauqua, Chemung, Chenango, Clinton, Columbia, Delaware, Erie, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Genesee, Greene, Hamilton, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Livingston, Madison, Monroe, Montgomery, Niagara, Oneida, Onondaga, Ontario, Orleans, Oswego, Otsego, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Schuler, Seneca, Steuben, Sullivan, Tioga, Washington, Wyoming, and Yates Counties were designated primary natural disaster areas and farm operators in these counties are eligible for FSA emergency loans, provided they meet other requirements.

Additionally, farm operators in Broome, Cortland, Dutchess, Orange, St. Lawrence, Tompkins, Ulster, Warren, and Wayne Counties are also eligible for assistance.

“After weathering a brutal farming season last year, the USDA’s disaster designation will provide much needed assistance to farmers and growers throughout Upstate New York,” said Senator Schumer. “From corner to corner of the state, I have seen firsthand the aftermath of last year’s severe rain and flooding. Thankfully, this disaster declaration means our Upstate farmers and growers will have access to critical emergency loans and more, at a time when they need it the most.”

“I’m pleased that the USDA has approved natural disaster designations across Upstate New York for counties that suffered extensive damage due to severe weather during last year’s farming season,” said Senator Gillibrand, member of the Senate Agriculture Committee. “This will allow FSA emergency loans and other assistance to flow to communities that need it. New York has a strong farming tradition, and it is past time for our farmers to get the help they need to recover. I will always do everything I can to ensure that New Yorkers have the resources to rebuild.”