(TRENTON) – Reports issued by the USDA’s
Farm Service Agency show the storm and floods of July
12-13 caused more than $2 million in farmland and farm
property damage in Burlington and Camden counties,
New Jersey Agriculture Secretary Charles M. Kuperus
Damage to crops will not fully be known until harvesting ends, but farms
in the flood zone reported roughly 50-percent losses in a variety of
fruits and vegetables, according to the damage reports.
Governor James E. McGreevey and Secretary Kuperus today reminded farmers
in the affected area that state and federal programs and emergency aid
are available to help them recover from the effects of the storm.
“My administration is working to make sure any farmer who suffered losses
due to this 1,000-year storm finds the help necessary to recover from that damage,” said
Governor McGreevey. “While this storm impacted a small portion of the state,
every farmer in New Jersey is important to keeping our agricultural industry
Secretary Kuperus noted the irony of the storm damage coming in a year
that otherwise had seen favorable weather for farming throughout the
“In what has otherwise been a banner year for crops in New Jersey, this
localized event in Burlington and Camden counties has made us all aware of the
unpredictable impact weather can have on our agricultural industry,” said
Secretary Kuperus. “We will do all we can to monitor the long-term effects
of this storm and to help farmers in that area access the state and federal aid
that is available to them.”
Shortly after the storm, Governor McGreevey declared a State of Emergency
in the flood area and asked President Bush to declare Burlington and
Camden counties Federal Disaster Areas, which the President did on July
16. That action made farmers in Burlington and Camden counties, as well
as all contiguous counties, eligible to apply for emergency loans at
3.75 percent through the FSA for any storm-related damage.
Additional state aid was made available to the municipalities involved
in the flood when the Joint Budget Oversight Committee approved the Governor’s
request for $7.2 million in immediate flood relief to Burlington and
The Governor and Secretary Kuperus, along with other state and county
officials, toured the flood zone on July 23 and met with mayors of the
affected towns. The Department also mailed letters to all 380 farmers
in the area hit by the flood to alert them to aid that is available.
The Secretary commended the Farm Service Agency for the work it has done
to help farmers in the flood zone since July 13 and for the emergency
loans being made available.
“Both the New Jersey State Office and the FSA regional offices covering
Burlington and Camden counties have been of immeasurable help in providing an
accurate picture of the storm’s effects,” said Secretary Kuperus. “Their
assistance to the farmers in that area is greatly appreciated.”
Among the programs available to farmers are:
- Federal emergency loans of 3.75 percent through the Farm Service Agency.
Applications will be accepted through March 16, 2005. The FSA can be
reached in Burlington and Camden counties at (609) 267-1639.
- Cost-share services on a 50-50 basis are available for farms either
permanently preserved or in the eight-year agricultural commitment under
the Farmland Preservation Program. Projects designed for soil and water
conservation practices may be eligible. For more information, call the
Department’s Division of Agricultural & Natural Resources at
- Dam Repair Loans through the New Jersey Department of Environmental
Protection can be obtained at 2-percent interest to fix agricultural
dams damaged by the storm. For more information, call the DEP Dam Safety
Loan Program at (609) 984-0859.
- For all other aid questions, the Federal Emergency Management Agency
can be reached at 1-800-621-FEMA or at 1-800-462-7585 (TTY for the Hearing