September 7, 2001
Governor John Engler today announced that he has requested federal disaster assistance for 73 Michigan counties that have faced devastating field, fruit and vegetable crop losses due to severe drought. The request, in a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman, was based on 30 percent or more loss estimates in at least one commodity from each of the included counties.
"This summer's extremely dry and hot weather conditions have taken a heavy toll on Michigan's agriculture industry," Governor Engler said. "We are deeply committed to working with our federal partners to ensure that Michigan farmers can have expedited access to resources in these difficult times."
From the middle of June through the middle of August, less than ¾ inch of rain fell in most areas of Michigan, causing severe crop losses. In addition, many areas and crops experienced repeated temperatures that exceeded 100 degrees Fahrenheit, thus exacerbating already dry conditions.
Crops affected by the drought include: corn, alfalfa, mixed forage, pasture, sugar beets, soybeans, oats, dry beans, pickles, Christmas trees and seedlings, nursery crops, potatoes, spelt, clover, sunflowers, barley, first-year fruit trees, honey, tart cherries, blueberries, raspberries, apples, peaches, plums, pears, snap beans, cantaloupe, watermelon, cabbage, squash, carrots, tomatoes, pumpkins, sweet corn, cauliflower, broccoli, cucumbers, and peppers.
In order for federal disaster status to be granted, original crop loss estimates must be verified from harvest yield data. If losses of 30 percent or more are confirmed and the request is granted, eligible producers will have access to low-interest emergency loans from the USDA's Farm Service Agency for up to 80 percent of their weather-related production losses.
Following is a copy of the letter:
September 6, 2001
The Honorable Ann M. Veneman
Secretary of Agriculture
14th Street & Independence Avenue
Room 200-A, Administration Building
Washington, DC 20250
Dear Secretary Veneman:
A natural disaster has occurred in the State of Michigan that will result in 2001 production losses in fruit, field and vegetable crops. Consistent with United States Department of Agriculture policy, I request that you designate a Secretarial Natural Disaster in Michigan.
Between June 12 and August 17, Michigan experienced a severe drought. Less than ¾ inch of rain fell in most areas of Michigan during that entire period, causing a serious loss of field, fruit and vegetable crops. In addition, temperatures exceeding 100 degrees (F) were common during the last two weeks of July, exacerbating the already dry conditions. The following 73 Michigan counties were affected:
Affected crops include corn, alfalfa, mixed forage, pasture, sugar beets, soybeans, oats, dry beans, pickles, Christmas trees and seedlings, nursery crops, potatoes, spelt, clover, sunflowers, barley, first year fruit trees, honey, tart cherries, blueberries, raspberries, apples, peaches, plums, pears, snap beans, cantaloupe, watermelon, cabbage, squash, carrots, tomatoes, pumpkins, sweet corn, cauliflower, broccoli, cucumbers, and peppers.
Damage assessment information is being collected by the USDA Farm Service Agency and will be forwarded to your office as soon as it is available. Thank you for your consideration in this matter.