Federal disaster assistance available to some farmers after remnants of Ida

Farmers in Washington (“South”) County that suffered losses from the remnants of Hurricane Ida may have financial assistance available to them.

By: Tim Studebaker

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – In the wake of the remnants of Hurricane Ida, some farmers in southern New England woke up to find some or all of their crops had been damaged or destroyed by the storm’s rain and wind.  Now, some of those farmers could qualify for federal disaster assistance.

Matthew Richter is the acting Executive Director for the USDA’s Farm Service Agency office in Rhode Island.  Richter says, “The main thing that we’ve heard about is wind damage.  A lot of corn, and sunflowers for that matter, were laid completely sideways.  And for people that mechanically harvest, that’s a huge issue, because now they can’t.”

The assistance is only available for farmers in Washington County, or “South” County as many people call it.  Aside from traditional farms, orchard farmers who lost trees, vines, or shrubs, and farmers who raise livestock, honeybees, or fish including oysters could also qualify.

Richter says, “A lot of them are in salt ponds or similar things like that, or within a bay which may or may not have a freshwater river coming in.  So, with the extreme amount of rain from Ida, it could actually reduce the salinity, which can kill the oysters.”

There is also assistance available to help replace trees that were wiped out by the storm on privately owned forest land.  Because there are so many different agencies and programs available, Richter suggests using the Disaster Assistance Discovery Tool at https://www.farmers.gov/protection-recovery/disaster-tool to help get you on the right path.

Richter says, “I mean really, we’re just here to try to help the farmers stay in business.  We want to see Rhode Island farmers be as successful as they possibly can, and that’s who we’re here to help.”

© WLNE-TV / ABC6 2021

Categories: News, Rhode Island