HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – Governor Ned Lamont announced on Thursday that he submitted an agricultural disaster declaration request to the U.S. Department of Agricultural following damage sustained to farmers from Tropical Storm Elsa.
Tropical Storm Elsa hit Connecticut in early July 2020, causing flooding and damage to many farms across the state.
During Tropical Storm Elsa, the National Weather Service recorded wind speeds between 39 and 42 miles per hour and rainfall between 1.5 and 5 inches.
“There was still standing water in some of the fields,” said AG Commissioner Bryan Hurlburt.
That water prevented equipment and fertilizer from reaching crops. Days and days of additional rain further compounded the issues.
“As the water continues to stand there, the crops essentially drown in the water,” Hurlburt said.
If approved, the declaration will make farmers in all of Connecticut’s counties eligible for certain federal disaster assistance programs, such as emergency loans.
“It’s just going to be one of those years, it’s been a struggle,” said Karen Scott, Scott’s Yankee Farmer. “Like on this plant, we’re never going to be able to sell any because now it’s caused that section to be soft.”
“Farm owners are small business owners, and not only are they responsible for employing a significant number of people and generating economic activity, but they grow the food that we all rely on,” Governor Lamont said. “Any bit of relief from the damage sustained during this tropical storm will be an aid to these farmers. The USDA has been a great partner to Connecticut, and I appreciate their assistance on this recovery effort.”
As farmers work to manage crop production loss, Hurlburt says folks can help by heading to their local farm stand, especially now during National Farmers Market Week.
“Suppor them with your dollars and tell them they’re doing a great job,” Hurlburt said.