MID-MICHIGAN (WJRT) - Severe drought in the Thumb Region this summer is leading to a disaster declaration for farmers in four counties.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture approved a primary disaster designation for Sanilac County. Farmers there and in the adjacent counties of Huron, Lapeer, St. Clair and Tuscola now are eligible for federal assistance under the Crop Insurance Program and other programs.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer requested a disaster declaration for farmers in all Michigan counties affected by adverse weather and drought this growing season. The USDA is evaluating emergency declarations for farmers in other counties.
“From freezing temperatures and drought to flooding and high winds, many of our producers are finding themselves in the midst of yet another difficult growing season,” she said. “This relief can’t come soon enough for our farmers whoâ¯endured tremendous hardship as a result of the adverse weather we’ve seen this year.”
Beyond the severe drought gripping parts of the Thumb Region this summer, farmers in Michigan also endured a late spring frost at a key time of crop development. Storms later in the summer brought high winds and flooding rains, which also damaged crops and farm facilities.
“Our farmers and producers continue to face unpredictable and extreme weather conditions,” said Gary McDowell, director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. “This disaster designation and emergency loan opportunity providesa helping hand to our farmers ensuring they have ready access to the resources they need to keep feeding Michiganders and the world.”
The National Agricultural Statistic Service shows Sanilac County farmers grow the second largest harvest of soybeans among Michigan’s 83 counties at 6.4 million bushels in 2020. The state’s total soybean crop is valued at around $614 million annually.
Besides food, soybeans from Michigan are turned into tires, lubricants and biodiesel fuel.
“This designation as a disaster area not only brings awareness to the impacts drought can have on agriculture, but also offers financial support for farmers struggling due to these weather implications,” said Janna Fritz, CEO of the Michigan Soybean Committee.
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