Governor Requests Disaster Declarations
for 10 More Localities
— Also urges change in deadline for USDA
livestock compensation program —
RICHMOND — Governor Mark R. Warner today requested federal drought disaster designations for 10 additional Virginia localities, and urged U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman to expedite action on pending requests for 58 Virginia localities. Governor Warner also urged Secretary Veneman to reconsider the arbitrary deadline for a recently announced Livestock Compensation Program.
The Governor’s most recent request seeks agricultural disaster status for Accomack, Carroll, Grayson, Greensville, Lancaster, Lee, Patrick, Rappahannock, Roanoke, and Russell counties. USDA approval would make farmers in these localities, and contiguous counties, eligible for low interest loans as well as any supplemental relief that Congress may provide.
Governor Warner also called on Secretary Veneman to take action on pending requests submitted on behalf of 58 localities in which growers have documented drought or heat-related crop losses. “Some of these requests were filed on August 6th,” Governor Warner said. “Virginia’s farmers and their families need relief now.”
Currently, only 10 Virginia localities have been declared primary disaster areas: Bedford, Brunswick, Buckingham, Cumberland, Fluvanna, Goochland, Louisa, Orange, Prince Edward, and Rockbridge counties. By contrast, all the counties in some western states, such as South Dakota, have been declared disaster areas, due to the different growing seasons in those states and the longer duration of the drought in the West communities.
Governor Warner also asked Secretary Veneman to extend a September 19, 2002 deadline for the federal Livestock Compensation Program, which was announced on the same day. “As a result of this arbitrary deadline, only about 45 of Virginia’s localities are expected to be qualified for the Livestock Compensation Program.” Governor Warner wrote in his letter. Extending the deadline “would be a fair and equitable thing to do, and it would greatly benefit Virginia’s farmers, their families, and our farming communities.”