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Designation Stems from Record-Breaking Hot and Wet Weather in 2005
For Immediate Release: January 13, 2006

Lynne Richmond

(TRENTON) – United States Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns has designated 19 New Jersey counties as natural disaster areas, following the 2005 growing season’s extreme weather that led to crop losses.

Excessive precipitation, drought, excessive heat and high humidity that occurred from June 1 to October 6 led New Jersey Governor Richard J. Codey to seek a disaster declaration to assist farmers effected by the weather by providing them with low-interest emergency loans.

“Farmers are at the mercy of the weather and when the weather doesn’t cooperate, farmers can face great hardship,” said Governor Codey. “With the loans made available through this disaster designation, farmers will be able to get back on their feet and ensure that New Jersey residents continue to enjoy locally grown agricultural products.”

The counties included in the primary disaster designation are: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex and Warren. Hudson and Union Counties were named as contiguous disaster counties.

“Although the 2005 season was generally good for many New Jersey farmers, there were several sectors, including corn, soybeans and other crops lacking sufficient irrigation for the hot, dry conditions, which led to crop losses,” said New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Charles M. Kuperus. “These loans may ensure that we keep our Garden State farmers farming and preserve the agricultural landscape.”

The disaster designation makes farm operators in both primary and contiguous counties who suffered 30 percent or more losses directly due to the harsh weather eligible to be considered for low-interest emergency loans from Farm Services Agency (FSA). The loans can cover up to 100 percent of the dollar value of the losses.

“The emergency loans are one step toward helping growers recover from the natural disasters experienced in the 2005 growing season,” said Paul Hlubik, FSA State Executive Director. “There are already a number of growers who are grateful for this offer of assistance and will benefit from it either through taking out loans or restructuring current loans.”

FSA will consider each application on its own merit by taking into account the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability.

For further information, contact the State FSA office at (609) 298-3446.