Gillibrand calls for USDA disaster declaration for North Country farms


The Little River in the St. Lawrence County town of Canton, yesterday. Photo: Martha Foley

This press release this afternoon from U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s office, after the flooding of the last 24 hours (our story from this morning). The North Country is still under flood watches and warnings until tonight, although it’s not raining or snowing. There’s still flooding and high water, and some roads do remain closed throughout the region. Officials are encouraging people not to drive through high water.

Extreme Flooding In Lewis, St. Lawrence Counties Damaging Roads, Bridges – Isolating Dairy Farms, Damaging Feed, Silos, Wells

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, today called on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to issue an agriculture disaster declaration to send relief to farms in Lewis and St. Lawrence Counties where 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.

Sen. Gillibrand's letter to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. Image via Gillibrand's website

Sen. Gillibrand’s letter to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack (click to enlarge). Image via Gillibrand’s website

“When New York’s farmers struggle, our entire economy struggles,” Senator 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. We need these federal resources on the ground without delay so we can help our farms recover and support our economy.”

Senator Gillibrand is calling for the swift disaster declaration for Lewis and St. Lawrence Counties, and could extend to additional counties as damage continues to be reported by local farm agencies.

A secretarial disaster declaration can release federal resources that provide a range of assistance to farmers, including low-interest emergency loans, technical assistance to repair damages and help to replenish lost livestock.

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