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Informs Farmers of Services Available Through State, Federal Governments

For Immediate Release: July 16, 2004


Jeff Beach




(TRENTON) – New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Charles M. Kuperus today visited several farms hit by the torrential rain and floods of July 12-13, assuring farmers of the services available to them as they battle back from the natural disaster.

The Secretary’s visit followed up on a letter sent to all farmers in the area hit hardest by the storm and floods, in which he further outlined services available to help repair dams, protect livestock and rebound from lost crops.

“Farmers by nature are a very independent lot, and sometimes are reluctant to avail themselves of help such as loans and technical assistance available from state and federal governments,” Secretary Kuperus said. “But in a case like this, we encourage farmers to participate in the numerous programs that can help them bounce back from the storm and flood damage that hit this area. Helping the farmers hardest hit by the storms will help keep working farms viable.”

Secretary Kuperus said the storm’s impact was severe for those farmers in the hardest hit area, but limited to a portion of Burlington County, as well as some isolated areas of Camden and Ocean Counties. In some parts of Burlington County, up to 14 inches of rain fell, swelling creeks and resulting in the breach of numerous dams.

“New Jersey agriculture is extremely diverse and spread throughout the state,” he said. “While there are serious concerns about the impact of the storm in this specific region, the rain on Monday and Tuesday was lighter and much-needed in other portions of the state. Right now, our focus is on doing all that we can to get the farmers who do have problems from the storm the help they need.”

Governor McGreevey on Tuesday sent a letter to President Bush seeking a Presidential Natural Disaster Declaration. That action, taken at Secretary Kuperus’ request, would result in expedited federal aid for farmers if approved by the President. That aid would come in the form of emergency loans from the federal Farm Service Agency. Additional federal aid will be sought with a request for a disaster declaration from USDA Secretary Ann M. Veneman once all damage assessments have been completed, which should take 10 days to two weeks from the date of the storm.

Farmers seeking help as a result of the storm should contact their local Farm Service Agency office and report losses by logging onto www.fsa.usda.gov/nj/. The FSA for Burlington and Camden Counties can be reached at (609) 267-1639, and in Atlantic County, (856) 205-1225. Questions on crop insurance issues should be directed to Kim Linonis or Dave Lee at Garden State Crop Insurance Education Initiative at 1-800-308-2449. Those seeking help with dam repair should call (609) 984-0859. Those with livestock issues can contact the NJDA’s Division of Animal Health at (609) 292-3965.