Dear Secretary Vilsack, Thank you again for your partnership in helping New York rebuild after Hurricane

Irene and Tropical Storm Lee struck our state during the fall of 2011. Also, thank you for your assistance as we work towards rebuilding dikes protecting farmland on Long Island, which were severely damaged during Superstorm Sandy. Your attention to New York’s agricultural disasters has been much appreciated, and we are writing to you today to again ask for your assistance in helping New York recover from the extreme rains this spring and early summer. New York State has seen 10-15 inches of rain since the middle of May. As you know, this level of water leads to flooded fields and significant crop losses. This has been a problem across the state but the flooding and weather-related problems have been the most extreme in Oneida, Herkimer, Madison, Montgomery, Fulton, Schoharie, Sullivan and Orange counties, as well as contiguous counties. The state is still trying to assess exact farmer impact, but anecdotal reporting of crop loss and washed out roads are already having significant negative effects on our agricultural communities. Additionally, some farmers are experiencing impacted vegetable planting schedules (such as green beans and some corn plantings), compromised berries due to the saturation of water, and bad quality hay since it has matured and is standing in the fields unable to be cut due to the standing water. The flooding and erosion of corn and hay fields in the region will be particularly damaging for the region’s dairy farmers, who rely on a plentiful corn supply and high-quality hay crop to feed their cows throughout the year. Poor-quality feed and limited supply of corn for grain could very well result in diminished milk production and may force dairy farmers in the region to sell off some of their cows this winter. This is a critical time for New York farming communities to receive the support they need. We write today to ask that we work together to expedite the USDA natural disaster declaration process for New York counties in need. Thank you again for your continued support of New York farmers, especially during these critical times after these extreme weather conditions. We look forward to continuing to work together.

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