Scott requests secretarial disaster designation from USDA in response to severe flooding

Flattened and waterlogged rows of corn in Troy. VAAFM photo.

Vermont Business Magazine Governor Phil Scott has requested that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) issue a disaster designation for the State of Vermont in response to severe July flooding. A Secretarial Disaster Designation would open the availability of financial assistance, including low-interest USDA Farm Service Agency emergency loans for eligible producers in the approved counties.

The governor also announced on Friday that US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg will come to Vermont on Monday to assess the flood damage.

“It is too early to fully describe or even estimate damages, but it is clear losses will be catastrophic and our farmers and agricultural producers will need help. In our mountainous State, much of our most fertile farmland lies in river valleys, and countless fields of corn, hay, vegetables, fruit, and pasture were swamped and buried,” wrote Governor Scott. “We expect that the excessive flooding and related silt and other contamination will destroy large shares of our produce and livestock feed.  Moreover, Vermont’s growing season is short, and a historic flood in the heart of it is particularly devastating.  Many crops cannot be replanted, and losses will not be effectively recovered or mitigated prior to our early fall harvest.”

“The losses are staggering. We are now focused on the recovery,” said Agriculture Secretary Anson Tebbetts. “It will take federal, state, local and private resources to help our farmers get through this.  We are committed to working with our public and private partners during this crisis.” 

The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets is encouraging all those who sustained losses to report their damages to their local Farm Services Agency office with USDA.

President Biden has already signed a separate major disaster declaration for the state.

Click here to view the full letter from Governor Scott to Secretary Tom Vilsack.

Delegation Speaks with Secretary Vilsack, Urges Support for Vermont Farmers Coping with Catastrophic Flooding  

This afternoon Senator Peter Welch joined Senator Bernie Sanders, and Congresswoman Becca Balint on a call with United States Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to discuss the extreme damage to farms caused by recent storms and flooding in Vermont.  

“Vermont’s farmers are at the heart of our state’s economy and culture. They face enough challenges in their day-to-day work without the added strain of a natural disaster like this flood.”  

“The week’s rain and flooding has resulted in tremendous losses of crops, livestock, and property damage for so many hardworking farmers and ranchers across our state, and it’s going to take time and considerable resources to come through this.”  

“I stressed these challenges in our delegation’s phone call with Secretary Vilsack today, and I am confident that he, along with the Biden Administration and the Governor, will help Vermont’s farmers and producers through this crisis. As a member of the Agriculture Committee, I will continue to work closely with the USDA to ensure Vermont’s communities and farms have the tools they need to rebuild and recover.”