Earlier this week, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the creation of a $15 million recovery fund to help farmers recover from the damage caused by Hurricane Irene. The hurricane, which slammed into the east coast earlier in the week, has already caused significant amounts of damage, particularly to farmers in upstate New York. According to Cuomo, the initial estimates are already topping $45 million, a figure that could increase as further evaluations are made.
In a statement to the press, Cuomo reiterated the obligation that the government of New York has to its farmers, stating, “I have seen first-hand the devastating damage to many New York farms as a result of Hurricane Irene and we must do all we can to help these farmers and our rural communities recover.”
The recovery fund will go towards repairing damaged infrastructure as well as repairing stream banks, drainage areas, and other waterways destroyed by the hurricane. While the fund is an important source of money, it may not be enough to undo Irene’s damage, which has submerged almost 150,000 acres of farmland and made roads across the state impassible.
Cuomo recently asked Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to declare a state of disaster in several New York counties, making emergency funding and loans available to struggling farmers.
Cuomo’s response is partially motivated by fears of disaster funding. Budget hawks in Congress have threatened to deny FEMA disaster funding unless equivalent spending cuts are made in the federal budget.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer