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Gov. Whitmer Requests USDA Disaster Designation for Michigan Counties Impacted by Severe Weather

Governor Gretchen Whitmer sent a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack requesting a disaster designation for Michigan counties impacted by severe weather. The governor is also requesting the USDA make available any other possible assistance under the Federal Crop Insurance Program or other USDA programs to help Michigan’s hard-working farmers recover.

“Our hardworking Michigan farmers are once again facing challenges due to weather following some of the toughest years in recent memory,” said Governor Whitmer. “From freezing temperatures to flooding, many of our producers are finding themselves in the midst of yet another difficult growing season. A disaster designation for impacted counties would provide some much-needed support to Michigan farmers.”

“The 2021 growing season has been marked by a wide range of extreme weather events, creating substantial disruption across our state’s agriculture sector,” said Chuck  Lippstreu, president of the Michigan Agri-Business Association. “We appreciate Governor Whitmer for prioritizing Michigan agriculture and requesting a Secretarial Disaster Designation from USDA. This is an important step toward unlocking emergency federal assistance for those affected by natural disaster.”

“Michigan faced an unusually warm spring, several weeks of overnight frost, drought and then excessive rain that has caused severe damage throughout the state to both the sweet and tart cherry crops. This is the first time in history that Michigan cherry growers have had back-to-back crop loss due to the abnormal weather patterns,” said Julie Gordon, president of the Cherry Marketing Institute. “This has been devastating to cherry growers and they are in dire need of assistance to be able to survive through these challenging times.”

This spring, Michigan experienced a significant period of freezing temperatures after many warm days, which negatively impacted several crops at a key time in their development. Damage assessments are still coming in, but early reports show varying degrees of damage to cherries, asparagus, and other fruit and vegetable crops.

In addition, parts of Michigan’s croplands have experienced both drought and flooding, in some cases within days of each other. The storms from late last month brought high winds and large amounts of rain in multiple areas of the state, causing damage to barns and agriculture infrastructure, as well as to standing crops.

To view the governor’s letter, click the link below: