160px-FranklobiondoU.S. Congressman Frank A. LoBiondo announced that South Jersey counties have received a disaster designation by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for crop losses caused by high wind, frost, hail and flooding associated with storms that occurred May 7 – 31, 2010.

“This is certainly welcome news for South Jersey farmers who have faced tremendous challenges due to the extreme weather of this growing season,” said LoBiondo. “I was pleased to support the Governor’s request for federal assistance and will work with local farmers to ensure their losses are fairly compensated.”

Outlined in a letter from USDA Secretary Thomas Vislack, a primary natural disaster designation was made for the New Jersey counties of Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland and Ocean. Federal assistance is also available for the contiguous counties of Gloucester, Mercer, Monmouth and Salem.

With the designation, producers in both primary and contiguous counties are eligible to be considered for Farm Service Agency (FSA) emergency loans and the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Program (SURE).  SURE was approved as part of the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 and was implemented beginning on January 4, 2010.  To receive an emergency loan, the FSA will consider each application on its own merit by taking into account the extent of losses, security available, and repayment ability.  Affected farmers and ranchers are encouraged to contact their local FSA office for additional information.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie wrote to USDA Secretary Vislack in August 2010 requesting the federal disaster declaration. Secretary Vislack’s response to Governor Christie is attached.

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