Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley recently asked Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to declare 13 Maryland counties federal disaster areas. The declaration is part of Maryland’s efforts to confront record-breaking drought conditions.
For the past several months, most of the nation has been in the grip of a serious and ongoing drought. The drought, which is the worst most Americans have seen in 50 years, has done considerable damage to the agricultural sector, degrading more than half of the nation’s corn crop and destroying months of farmer’s hard work and preparations.
In Maryland, more than 76 percent of the state is suffering from abnormally dry weather. The thirteen counties (out of twenty-four total counties in the state) where O’Malley is requesting disaster declarations represent those areas hardest hit by the drought.
O’Malley’s letter to Vilsack states, “I urge you to act quickly upon this request so that appropriate relief can be made available to eligible producers. By requesting this disaster designation, we hope to provide some relief to our local farmers, who are a vital part of Maryland’s economy, and we will continue to work with the Maryland Department of Agriculture and our federal delegation to help our farmers get through this drought.”
A disaster declaration would make Maryland farmers eligible for low-interest disaster loans and other federal disaster aid.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer