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Cuomo visits area hit hard by storms

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Albany/HV: Cuomo visits area hit hard by storms
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Farmers hit with a one-two punch. First Tropical Storm Irene and then Lee floods their fields. Our Elaina Athans tells us what the state is doing for the $5 billion a year industry.

HUDSON VALLEY, N.Y. -- "I understand full well the damage that has been done to the farming community," said Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Governor Andrew Cuomo backing up compassion with cash. The State is dispersing $2.4 million to help farmers get back on their feet after back-to-back tropical storms crippled their cops.

"The farming community has taken it right on the chin in the midst of bad economy to begin with," said Cuomo.

Money is being offered to 125 farms statewide for rebound efforts. Many farmers lost acres of product between Tropical Storms Irene and Lee.

"Farmers need cash immediately," said Cuomo. "They're money was in the field. The field was washed away at a time when they desperately need it and they need stop gap assistance and that's what this program is designed to do."

Farmers can use those funds for things like debris removal, road repaymentand vegetable buffer planting, among other things. But we spoke with one farmer who says that money won't help him one bit.

"It's not for crop loses, so is it going to help with that? No," said Chris Pawelski.

Onion farmer Chris Pawelski saw only three of his 51 acres survive. He estimates the storms caused $200,000 worth of damage.

"I'm in shock still and it's hard to ask my wife to lay out and borrow another $100,000 for crops. We're trying it one day at a time. I don't know what we're going to do," said Pawelski.

The state says anyone interested in taking advantage of this new funding can apply right away. Request should be sent to the Commissioner of Agriculture and Markets.

Press Release

Governor Cuomo Announces $2.4 Million in Aid to 125 New York Farms Affected by Recent Storms

Aid Will Assist with Restoration of Flood-Damaged Farmland Governor Announces Further Steps to Expedite Distribution of Additional Funds

Albany, NY (September 22, 2011)

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced $2.4 million from the state's Agricultural and Community Recovery Fund (ACRF) will be distributed to 125 farms to help New York's agricultural communities recover from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. Governor Cuomo made the announcement at the John Glebocki Farm in Goshen, New York, which sustained major damage from the past flooding.

The Governor also announced that certain regulations will be temporarily suspended to allow additional financial assistance for the rebuilding of rural communities to be approved and distributed as quickly as possible.

"Although many New York farms were destroyed during the recent storms, we are moving quickly to distribute recovery funds so the rebuilding process can begin as soon as possible," Governor Cuomo said. "Before the flooding from Tropical Storm Lee began, we had already lost nearly 140,000 acres of farmland from Hurricane Irene. I have visited hard-hit farming areas together with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack and N.Y. Commissioner of Agriculture and Markets Aubertine and we have seen the destruction firsthand. This aid will provide much-needed assistance to agricultural communities so farmers can begin to rebuild."

Darrel Aubertine, Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture and Markets, said, "The recent storms did tremendous damage to some of our best farmland. Governor Cuomo created the Agriculture and Community Recovery Fund to speed the rebuilding process in our farming sector. This aid will allow work to begin in short-order to help our farmers recover from this catastrophe."

The ACRF was announced by Governor Cuomo on September 3rd and will provide at least $15 million to rebuild communities and the agricultural industry in hard-hit areas. The funds are from the ACRF Conservation Program, which is designed to help farms recover, stabilize soils and stream banks, restore water control structures, and improve and protect water quality.

Today's distribution of aid includes:


Albany County Soil & Water District – $30,250
Projects: Replacement of alternative water supply and reconstruction of an access road, fencing, and gravel deposition removal.
Broome County Soil & Water District - $20,000
Projects: Fence repair, stream bank stabilization, replacement of alternative water supply, and debris removal from cropland.
Chenango County Soil & Water District - $37,564
Projects: Debris removal and streambank stabilization.
Clinton County Soil & Water District – $11,700
Projects: Replace failed culverts and access road repair.
Columbia County Soil & Water District – $44,000
Projects: Access road, stream crossing, fencing repair, debris removal from crop fields, and stream bank stabilization.
Delaware County Soil & Water District - $101,214
Projects: Debris removal, milk house waste treatment system replacement, fencing, access road replacement and repair, stream bank stabilization.
Dutchess County Soil & Water District – $17,403
Projects: Debris removal from pastures, access road repair, fence repair, downed tree removal, and vegetative buffer planting.
Greene County Soil & Water District - $174,650
Projects: Debris removal, fence repair, and grassed waterway repair.
Essex County Soil & Water District – $45,460
Projects: Stream channel restoration, debris removal, fence repair, and access road and culvert repair.
Montgomery County Soil & Water District – $153,250
Projects: Gravel and debris removal from cropland, stream bank stabilization, and vegetative buffer plantings.
Oneida County Soil & Water District – $18,995
Projects: Field restoration, diversion ditch, and obstruction removal
Orange County Soil & Water District - $319,620
Projects: Access road repair and replacement, crop field restoration, debris removal, animal laneway repair, water control structure repair, water supply, and fencing repair.
Otsego County Soil & Water District – $167,100
Projects: Barnyard water management, stream bank stabilization, debris removal, and critical area seeding.
Rensselaer County Soil & Water District – $184,060
Projects: Fence replacement and repair, stream bank stabilization, debris removal, and access road repair.
Saratoga County Soil & Water District – $30,000
Projects: Replace main access road and large culvert crossing.
Schenectady County Soil & Water District - $26,000
Projects: Debris removal, erosion control practices, stream crossing repair, and streambank stabilization.
Schoharie County Soil & Water District – $556,090
Projects: Debris removal, including gravel piles, whole trees, buildings, and fuel and propane tanks in crop fields; milk house waste treatment system replacement; fencing; access road replacement and repair stream bank stabilization; cover cropping; field repair; and water control structure repair.
Suffolk County Soil & Water District – $25,000
Project: Repair to water control structures to keep Hallock’s Bay from flooding farm fields.
Sullivan County Soil & Water District - $3,300
Projects: Debris removal and streambank stabilization.
Tioga County Soil & Water District - $219,920
Projects: Debris and obstruction removal, vegetative buffer repair, streambank stabilization, manure storage evaluation, pump replacement, and fence repair.
Ulster County Soil & Water District – $190,252
Projects: Stream crossing for equipment repair, critical area seeding, irrigation system repair, fencing, orchard repair, debris removal, access road repair, and cover cropping.
Washington County Soil & Water District – $60,415
Projects: Streambank stabilization, crop field restoration, alternative water supply repair, debris removal, and riparian buffer replacement.

Expedited Financial Assistance to Farms

The additional steps announced by Governor Cuomo today will temporarily remove a number of bureaucratic barriers that would impede the delivery of much-needed financial assistance to New York farming communities.

The measures will:

Allow the Department of Agriculture and Markets to expedite the authorization process for emergency contracts to Soil and Water Conservation Districts
Allow for expedited allocation of appropriations from the Upstate Agricultural Economic Development Fund to hard-hit areas
Provide measures to ensure the expedited approval of contracts or purchases directed toward assisting farming areas affected by Hurricane Irene, avoiding the time-consuming standard procurement process
Waive the waiting period to allow expedited delivery of Community Development Block Grant funds

About the ACRF Conservation Program

The Conservation Program is administered by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets in consultation with the New York State Soil and Water Conservation Committee. Applications for funding will be accepted from County Soil and Water Conservation Districts within the eligible counties. Eligible counties are those that received a disaster designation for Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee.

The Soil and Water Districts will determine land eligibility based on site inspections of damage. For land to be eligible, the Tropical Storms must have created a new conservation problem that, if left untreated, would: degrade the state’s natural resources; impact public drinking water supplies; present ongoing pollution risks to surface and groundwater; pose threats to production facilities; impair farm safety; affect the land’s productive capacity; or present challenges to farm production that would be too costly to implement without state assistance.

Eligible emergency conservation practices include, but are not limited to: debris removal; restoring fences and conservation structures; crop removal; land shaping and grading; and installation of vegetative practice, including cover crop. Eligible costs include: architectural and/or engineering services; consultant services; construction; and other direct expenses related to implementation.

Project sponsors within eligible counties may submit applications on a weekly basis. Applications will be taken until all available funds are awarded.

Project selection will be based on identified need and degree of loss and with consideration of the available funding for eligible counties. Recovery funds requested will be reviewed and approved by the Commissioner of Agriculture and Markets. The Commissioner may consult with the State Soil and Water Conservation Committee, the agency that oversees policy and programs for New York’s 58 County Soil and Water Conservation Districts.

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