Monday, July 13, 2009

Long Island Farmers Under Water - Senators Help

If you live in New York City or Long Island then you know that it just didn't stop raining here in June. Just over the weekend, we had another deluge overnight on Saturday in Southampton. Not only have the streets been flooded but so have the farms. And, many of the farm stands are losing business due to crop loss and crop delays.

As the NUMBER ONE agriculture county in New York State due to the large number of grape growers and wineries, Suffolk County has a lot to lose if we don't get more heat and sun to sweeten up those grapes and help along the tomatoes and corn and a lot less rain. According to Newsday, Senator Schumer agrees and is rallying behind farmers by declaring a crop disaster on Long Island.

Last week, a farmer told me that due to the lack of sun, her corn would be several weeks late. This weekend, I had some delicious "imported" "local" corn that was brought in from Western Suffolk county for sale at the Bridgehampton farm stand -- apparently there was more sun up island. They expect Bridgehampton grown corn in the next couple of weeks.

Two weeks ago, I got a note from my Chubby Bunny CSA farmer in CT letting me know that there would be no fruit delivery due to the heavy rains which caused the cherries to split open and burst -- this is the first time in the several years I've been a CSA member that there was no fruit delivery. Of course, this is a risk that you take with a Community Supported Agriculture subscription -- when there is an abundant harvest I know that I will get more fruits and vegetables and when there is crop failure I get less. A risk, of course, that I'm willing to take for great tasting veggies.

Over the weekend, New York Senator Chuck Schumer asked the USDA to grant "disaster declaration" to Long Island Farmers to compensate them for lost crops -- specifically soggy spinach, lettuce, corn, tomatoes, potatoes and grapes.
From Newsday: "Schumer Backs LI Farmers Seeking Federal Loans"
by Keith Herbert (7/11/09)
"Sen. Charles Schumer is adding some political muscle to Long Island armers seeking low-interest loans from the federal government because of crop losses. In a letter to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Schumer requested that the agency swiftly grant disaster declaration status to farmers whose crops have been devastated by higher-than-normal rain recently.It could take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months for the Agriculture Department to make a disaster declaration."Sometimes it takes a little too long, particularly when you're in the middle of growing season," Schumer said Saturday. "The loss time could matter a great deal.".... MORE
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4 comments:

Joost Hoogstrate said...

Hi Alexa, it’s really sad when unexpected weather comes in the way of a good crop yield. Yes, farmers who are affected surely need help from the government. Perhaps farmers who practice more organic techniques and are more environment conscious should be given more compensation for the higher costs they entail in running their farms.

Nice post.
Joost Hoogstrate

Alexa Van de Walle said...

Joost
I read somewhere else that it may be that the crop insurance doesn't cover "specialty crops" such as fruits and veggies rather only commodity crops.Now, that would be a shame. I need to find out more...

Joost Hoogstrate said...

In the Netherlands we have something like cooperative insurance companies.

It's like 1,000 farmers team up and say:"we will raise our own insurance company"... without the gain of profit... but with the gain of protecting the members.

I guess it sounds maybe too socialistic for USA standards...

But is nothing different from an ordinary insurance company.. only there is no profit gain.

Or does something familiar excists in the USA also?

Alexa Van de Walle said...

Greetings Joost,
The US has both federal crop insurance and private crop insurance -- the ins and outs of which I am not an expert by any means.

Below is a list of insurance companies in the US providing crop insurance -- all the policies would be dependent on the company/crops

http://www3.rma.usda.gov/tools/agents/companies/indexCI.cfm

AND a link to the USDA site on the Federal protection at US Dept. of Agriculture Risk Management Agency:

http://www.rma.usda.gov/

Have a nice weekend (it's stopped raining here and I hope to have some LOCAL corn from Southampton where I am now!!