Assemblywoman Annie Rabbitt (R,C,I-Greenwood Lake) today toured storm damage in Goshen with Governor Andrew Cuomo, and joined the governor in announcing at least $15 million in funds to assist farmers recovering from Tropical Storms Irene and Lee. The governor’s announcement came just hours after the United States House of Representatives defeated legislation to provide $3.85 billion in federal disaster relief.
“While I agree that the federal bill was inadequate and excluded farmers, the larger problem of how to help our communities recover – both immediately and in the long term – now exists, and I am very proud to stand here today with our governor, who is taking the lead to ensure New York’s number one industry, agriculture, is supported during the recovery period,” said the assemblywoman, from the governor’s press conference in Goshen announcing the first round of 125 farms that will receive a collective $2.4 million in assistance. Among these projects is $319,620 that has been awarded to Orange County Soil and Water District to assist road repair and replacement, crop field restoration, debris removal, animal laneway repair, and ensure water supply.
Assemblywoman Rabbitt has been actively engaged in recovery efforts throughout the 97th Assembly District, which includes portions of Orange and Rockland counties. Following the storms, she toured damage with Congresswoman Nan Hayworth to help raise awareness of the widespread and severe damage felt by homeowners, employers and farmers (Note: Hayworth voted in support of the relief bill).
Today, she joined with the governor, state Department of Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Darrel J. Aubertine, representatives from the New York Farm Bureau and local officials, to specifically highlight the impact of the storms on area farms, including touring J. Glebocki Farms in Goshen.
According to the federal Farm Service Agency, the back-to-back tropical storms are estimated to have caused New York state farms $45 million or more in damages. Furthermore, according to the governor’s figures, nearly 140,000 acres of farmland have been lost due to Irene. Assemblywoman Rabbitt said, “With harvest season upon us, the storms could not have come at a worse time. I remain committed to ensuring that the farmers in Orange and Rockland counties – and across our state – have the assistance to rebuild their farms and recover. Without agricultural-specific assistance, the landscape of our state – not to mention our state’s economy – will be forever changed.”
Farms in need of assistance as the result of Tropical Storms Irene or Lee should visit the state Department of Agriculture and Markets’ website at www.agmkt.state.ny.us or contact their local Soil and Water Department and ask about the Agricultural and Community Recovery Fund (ACRF).
Orange County Soil and Water
225 Dolson Avenue, Suite 103
Middletown, NY 10940
Rockland County Soil and Water
50 Sanitorium Road, Building P
Pomona, NY 10970