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DC lawmakers introduce legislation to help farmers after hurricane

September 7, 2011

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles E. Schumer, together with Congressmen Chris Gibson, Maurice Hinchey, Paul Tonko and Bill Owens, today introduced the Post-Irene Emergency Farm Aid Act, legislation to provide the resources that farmers across New York State need to help recover from the devastation caused by Hurricane Irene. The legislation would authorize $10 million to support the Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) and the Emergency Watershed Program (EWP) that provide emergency services and resources for agricultural communities following natural disasters.

“America has always stood by those suffering from disaster and helped them to rebuild,” said Senator Gillibrand, New York’s first member of the Senate Agriculture Committee in nearly 40 years. “New York’s farmland endured some of the worst of Hurricane Irene, and much of our farmland is badly damaged. When our farm families suffer, our whole state and whole economy suffers. We need to provide our agricultural communities with all the resources we need to dig out and rebuild from these devastating storms.”

“When tornados hit Missouri or Katrina hit New Orleans, Americans from across the country banded together to help individuals, business owners, and farmers get back on their feet,” said Schumer. “Irene drowned crops, killed livestock, and spoiled milk from the Hudson Valley through Schoharie on up to the North Country. This bill would help the federal government do its part and step up to the plate to provide relief for New York’s hardest hit farms. New York’s farmers can’t afford to wait – we need to move quickly to pass this legislation.”

Congressman Gibson said, “Family farms are the backbone our rural Upstate New York communities. They have suffered tremendous devastation as a result of Hurricane Irene, losing crops, livestock, and essential structures and equipment. Without federal support, many will not be able to repair and rebuild – thus, it is critical we ensure our agricultural disaster relief programs have the resources required to support the recovery process.”

“New York's farmers were badly hurt by Hurricane Irene,” said Hinchey. “We need to do everything we can to help them recover from crop and livestock losses, and other damage caused by the storm. These hard working men and women need our support now more than ever, and that's why this legislation is so critically important.”