Press Releases

Congressman Owens Announces USDA Disaster Designation for Upstate Farmers

Assistance to help local farmers affected by spring flooding

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Washington, Aug 16, 2011 | Sean Magers (202-225-4611) | comments
PLATTSBURGH – Congressman Bill Owens today announced a secretarial disaster designation for Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Oswego, Oneida and Lewis counties.  The designation from USDA immediately triggers the availability of low-interest emergency loans from the Farm Services Agency (FSA) and the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Program (SURE) to eligible agricultural producers in all primary and contiguous counties to help them recover from production and physical losses.  Physical losses include, but are not limited to, dead livestock and collapsed buildings.

"This is good news for family farms in communities that were affected by severe weather earlier this year, and I encourage all those who qualify for this assistance to apply.  There are still homeowners and small business operators that need additional assistance from FEMA and the SBA, and I plan to continue my work with state and local emergency management officials to ensure that all of those affected receive the assistance they need to return to normal,” Owens said.

The SURE program compensates qualifying producers for a portion of losses that are not eligible for an indemnity payment under a crop insurance policy.   Producers and farmers in eligible counties should visit their local FSA county office, which can be located online at

This designation also allows the SBA to issue Economic Injury Disaster Loans.  These low-interest loans will be made available to small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives and most private nonprofit organizations to assist them in paying their operating expenses. Organizations can submit their applications by visiting

Since severe flooding affected areas in Upstate New York this spring, Congressman Owens has toured damage sites with community leaders and FEMA officials, written to President Obama to urge him to grant Governor Cuomo’s request for an official disaster declaration, and urged the Governor to apply for a physical disaster declaration by the SBA to enable qualified homeowners and businesses to receive low-interest loans from the SBA’s Disaster Loan Program.  

The USDA letter to Governor Cuomo can be viewed online here.

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