LANSING, MI (STL.News) Governor Gretchen Whitmer today applauded the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) designation of Berrien, Cass, and Ottawa counties as primary natural disaster areas, making assistance available to agriculture producers in those counties who incurred damage and losses caused by freeze earlier this spring.

“I am pleased the USDA responded to our request and I’m looking forward to the further assessment of those counties not included in this designation.  This relief can’t come soon enough for our farmers who endured tremendous hardship as a result of this adverse weather,” said Governor Whitmer.  “I am grateful to USDA and our Michigan delegation, especially our Senators, for the leadership they’ve taken as well to ensure our hardworking farmers receive the assistance and supports they need.”

“This spring, West Michigan fruit growers and farmers experienced a hard freeze that damaged their crops,” said U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry.  “I’m pleased the USDA has listened to calls from the Governor and Congress and will provide relief to our farmers.”

In June, the governor sent a letter to Secretary Sonny Perdue requesting a disaster designation for counties impacted by severe weather from the USDA to help Michigan’s farmers recover.  The request was followed by a bipartisan letter of support from members of Michigan’s Congressional delegation.

“From freezing temperatures to flooding caused by dam failures and high-water levels following periods of prolonged rainfall, many of our producers are navigating another difficult season following one of the toughest years in recent memory,” said Governor Whitmer.  “I want to thank the USDA for granting Michigan counties the relief needed to continue to support Michigan farmers and their families.”

This Secretarial Disaster Designation makes farm operators eligible to be considered for certain types of assistance from the Farm Service Agency (FSA), including emergency loans. Producers should contact their local FSA office for additional information.

CLICK to VIEW USDA Letter (PDF)

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