Sen. Schumer calls for emergency assistance for local farmers hurt by frost
Thu, 17 May 2012 21:46:46 GMT —
It's still early in the season but many Upstate farmers are getting an idea of just how much damage their crops have suffered. The warm start to spring fooled some perennials into going into bloom - only to have those blossoms damaged by a series of overnight frosts.
"You figure it's going to hit 32,33, 31," said Brian Reeves from Reeves Farms. "You don't expect 25,26 at that time of year."
New York Senator Chuck Schumer wants the USDA to consider an emergency declaration for Upstate New York. Assistance could include low interest loans for farmers who suffered sever damage.
"Several years ago when we had a lot of hailstorms and it hurt a lot of our fruit farmers, this federal disaster assistance kept these farmers from going under and we need to have the same thing available now," said Schumer. "It's really tough to be a farmer."
Many of New York's apple farms are still assessing frost damage. At Reeves Farm in Baldwinsville, the strawberry crop looks good, but some of the corn crop was lost and a third of the blueberry acreage had damage. Brian Reeves says he won't know the full extent of the damage until closer to harvest. He hopes that the damage could be as low as 5-10%.
Reeves says farms from across the country will make sure there isn't a shortage for consumers but many local farms will still feel the pain.
"They'll see there's blueberries on the shelf and they'll see they can eat blueberries but they don't know the farmer down the road lost half his crop," said Reeves.