Virginia Seeks Agricultural Disaster Designation for 37 Localities

September 14, 2010

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell has asked the U.S. agriculture secretary to help farmers who suffered through a record hot and dry summer.

The appeal seeks to have 37 Virginia localities designated as disaster areas, in addition to seven already sought.

McDonnell wrote Secretary Tom Vilsack this month that the designation would give growers access to emergency assistance programs.

The localities range from Albemarle and Bedford Counties to the city of Suffolk.

“I can’t say it’s the worst summer I’ve seen but it’s certainly bad,” Agriculture and Forestry Secretary Todd Haymore said Sunday. “It’s been a very difficult year for producers around the state.”

Corn and soybeans have wilted under the hot, dry conditions, while grapes, tobacco and apples have fared better, he said.

Virginia sweltered under its hottest summers on record. The city of Richmond recorded 10 days of triple-digit temperatures. Drought conditions have also been widespread around the state.

Haymore said counties are assessing the agricultural losses and they should be known later this year. He said a federal disaster designation can make low-interest loans available to farmers as well as other assistance.

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