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Disaster declarations for New York farmers after unexpected weather

With federal aid, New York farmers hope to recover from their losses after being hit by multiple storms and weather fluctuations.
With federal aid, New York farmers hope to recover from their losses after being hit by multiple storms and weather fluctuations.

While many New Yorkers appreciated the surprisingly mild winter, the warm weather proved to be disastrous for local farmers as crops bloomed early, and then suffered damage after a spring freeze. As such, last week the U.S. Department of Agriculture issued federal agriculture disaster declarations, so that farmers can access federal funds to help them stay afloat this season.

Across New York, more than 3 million acres of farmland have experienced a 30 percent loss or greater, while many farms suffered 100 percent losses. Many of these same areas were still recovering from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee.

"Farmers across New York who were still recovering from last year's natural disasters risk losing an entire season worth of crops again," said state senator Kirsten Gillibrand in a press release. "These disaster declarations are a good first step to open up access to federal resources so these farmers can get back to business and keep New York's agricultural industry on the move."

The federal recovery programs will provide a variety of tools to aid farmers in their recovery from product losses as they attempt to rebuild their businesses. There will be financial assistance to compensate for farm losses, low interest emergency loans and assistance in rehabilitating farmland.

Agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack said in a separate news release that he and President Barack Obama are committed to using resources at their disposal to help the affected New York farmers get back on their feet.

All types of businesses and companies can be affected by natural disasters and other unforeseen circumstances. As such, it is important to have a business continuity plan in place, so all workers will know the proper procedures to follow in and after an emergency. Working with a disaster preparedness consultant can help companies prepare for the worst so business can return to normal as soon as possible.