Gov. Malloy Announces Emergency Assistance for State's Weather-Damaged Farms
(Hartford, CT) - Governor Dannel P. Malloy today announced emergency assistance is available to the Connecticut farms that have suffered unrecoverable losses in production and property damage in 2013 due to severe weather events, including excessive precipitation this past month. A total of $5 million has been designated for these grants, with individual awards based on the number of qualifying applications received by the July 15, 2013, deadline.
"Over the last two years, our state's farm sector endured a series of severe weather-related blows that have put many of their businesses in peril," said Governor Malloy. "Agriculture is an industry with tremendous growth potential, contributing $3.5 billion to Connecticut's economy and accounting for about 28,000 jobs in our state. Unfortunately, federal crop insurance programs that protect large farms in other parts of the country aren't designed for small diversified farms like ours. This puts our farmers at an unfair disadvantage when extreme weather events occur, but I am committed to helping these hard-working families recover their losses and to seeing Connecticut's small farms succeed and thrive."
Agriculture Commissioner Steven K. Reviczky praised Governor Malloy's swift action, adding, "Farmers are resilient by nature and skilled at diversifying the risks associated with such a weather-dependent profession. But some events, such as February's blizzard and this month's excessive rains, are beyond expectation and defy the best-laid plans and business models. This timely assistance will help farmers who have suffered substantial loss salvage this season and keep their small businesses afloat, in turn, allowing them to continue providing the fresh Connecticut Grown products sought by our state's residents and visitors."
The Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) will partner with the Department of Agriculture (DoAg) to offer the grants and the two state agencies will work with the non-profit Connecticut Farm Bureau Association to review applications and administer awards.
"The state has responded to businesses impacted by natural disasters in the past, and I believe this year's weather circumstances dictate a similar response from the state," said Catherine Smith, DECD Commissioner. "The recent rainfall, on top of snow damage suffered this winter, has put many of Connecticut's farmers in an untenable situation. We're concerned about their operations and are here to help them get back on their feet and back in their fields."
Assistance may be used in a variety of ways to help small farms recover from weather-related losses:
To repair damaged property and equipment;
To replant lost crops;
To plant new/different crops in place of lost crops;
To purchase feed to supplement lost hay, corn, and other crops for livestock;
To apply fertilizer and other soil amendments;
To apply any necessary products to prevent disease and/or pest outbreaks;
To perform other activities needed to recover from the storms, as deemed appropriate by the Commissioner of Agriculture.
Applicants must demonstrate a loss, file a Schedule F form or similar tax return, submit photos of the damage, and provide information regarding business ownership and proof of good standing with respect to state and local taxes.