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Upton Leads Michigan Delegation’s Effort to Secure USDA Disaster Designation for Michigan’s Farmers

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Washington, June 21, 2019 | Josh Paciorek (202-225-3761) | comments

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, today spearheaded a bipartisan letter from 13 members of the Michigan Congressional Delegation to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue urging support for Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s USDA Secretarial Disaster Designation request for the state of Michigan. If approved, the Disaster Designation would make additional assistance available to farmers in southwest Michigan and across the entire state following one of the wettest starts to the year in state history.

“On behalf of Michigan farmers, their families, and our state economy, we ask that you give all due consideration to the governor’s request for a Disaster Designation for all Michigan counties,” wrote the members.

Upton and the delegation also commended the USDA for its swift decision to provide flexibility under the Federal Crop Insurance program.

In addition to Upton, the letter was signed by U.S. Reps. Jack Bergman, Debbie Dingell, Bill Huizenga, Dan Kildee, Brenda Lawrence, Andy Levin, Paul Mitchell, John Moolenaar, Elissa Slotkin, Haley Stevens, Rashida Tlaib, and Tim Walberg.

You can read the letter online here or below:

The Honorable Sonny Perdue

Secretary

U.S. Department of Agriculture

1400 Independence Avenue, N.W.

Washington, D.C. 20250

Dear Secretary Perdue,

We are writing in support of Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s request on June 19, 2019 for a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretarial Disaster Designation for the entire state of Michigan.

As you may know, Michigan farmers are facing incredible challenges and record production loss due to historic weather conditions. As conveyed by the governor, Michigan is experiencing record rainfall, with the state in the midst of the third wettest year in our history. This rainfall comes on top of other severe weather conditions the state has experienced, including heavy snowfall, extreme temperatures, flash flooding, and tornadoes.

These damaging weather conditions are substantially affecting farm production across the state. Wet conditions have significantly delayed or prevented planting as well as endangered conditions of planted crops. According to USDA, only 63 percent of Michigan’s corn was planted as of June 9 and only 43% of soybeans had been planted. Furthermore, with disruptions in harvesting and planting, livestock and dairy farmers are facing higher feed costs and shortages later in the year. As a result, 64 of Michigan’s 83 counties spread across all fourteen congressional districts have requested disaster designations from USDA.

On behalf of Michigan farmers, their families, and our state economy, we ask that you give all due consideration to the governor’s request for a Disaster Designation for all Michigan counties. We greatly appreciate that the department has announced that it will provide additional flexibility within the Federal Crop Insurance program. A USDA Secretarial Disaster Designation would be the next critical step in providing relief to Michigan farmers. A designation would immediately trigger emergency assistance programs and provide a lifeline to struggling producers. Additionally, we reiterate the governor’s request for flexibility as the department finalizes details related to the $3 billion for agricultural disaster assistance recently approved by Congress to ensure disaster relief reaches farmers across our state.

Michigan’s agricultural community is integral to our state. With the industry experiencing one of the toughest periods in our farming history, we ask for your prompt attention to this matter and look forward to your response.

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