Grants for farmers

Begin Documenting Disaster Losses Now

Posted at August 3, 2016 | By : | Categories : Grants for farmers | Comments Off on Begin Documenting Disaster Losses Now

Farms Should Begin Documenting Impacts of Drought Now

 Watertown, N.Y. According to Mr. Glenn Bullock, County Executive Director for USDA Farm Service Agency in Jefferson and Lewis Counties, it is probably prudent for farms to begin documenting losses from the current drought conditions in Jefferson and Lewis Counties.  Mr. Bullock is submitting necessary reporting to the USDA Farm Service Agency State Office that may lead to a disaster declaration.  In the event of a disaster declaration, the better documentation a farm has as to crop and animal losses, the easier it should be for the farm to participate in any potential disaster relief programs. Suggested documentation a farm may want to gather may include:

Photographs – take pictures of your crops and any animal losses that may occur.  Document where and when the photo was taken. The photo should, as best as possible, demonstrate the severity of the loss.

Crop Yields – when appropriate, begin recording crop losses, reduced yields in preparation to report those to USDA.

Milk Production Losses – document reduced milk output from your herd.

Water Hauling Costs – If your wells have gone dry, document the amount of water you are purchasing, transportation costs, mileage, and labor costs to haul the water.

It is likely that there will be a disaster declaration. Farms are reporting that any rain that does come now is probably too late in terms of corn growth.  Hay yields are expected to be down significantly. Soybeans need water now in order to prevent significant yield losses. It is wise for farms to document as well as they can, the impact the drought is having on their operation.  It is unknown at this time exactly what USDA Disaster programs may become available is a declaration is issued but the better prepared a farm is to show damages, the more likely they can take advantage of help available.  Farmers should direct any questions to the USDA Farm Service Agency in Watertown at 315-782-7289 extension 2.


Mike Hunter, agronomist from Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County is reporting that the months of May, June and July are the driest they have been in 25 years in Jefferson County.  The negative impacts of this drought are coming at a very bad time for dairy farms that are suffering from extremely low milk prices.  In addition, the cost of hauling water to the farm, drop in milk production per cow and then poorer quality feed this winter and next spring are placing farms into a significantly difficult situation.

We will provide updates for farms as they become available.


About Jay Matteson

Since 1988, Jay Matteson has served the agricultural industry. His works includes assisting farms with natural resources conservation for 12 years until he became the Jefferson County Agricultural Coordinator in 2000. Since then, Jay has helped farms and agribusinesses sustain and grow. Jay writes a monthly column for NNY Business magazine and has hosted The Home Grown Show since 2002 on AM 790 WTNY radio. In the fall of 2016, Jay will host a new series of video productions on WPBS TV called, Countryside with Jay Matteson. These shows will explore agriculture, rural lifestyles and our natural environment.

Comments are closed.