Contact Information

  • Governor's Communications Office, 360-902-4136

Gov. Gregoire requests farm disaster assistance

For Immediate Release: September 28, 2009

OLYMPIA – Gov. Chris Gregoire today asked U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to designate six counties in Washington as farm disaster areas due to weather-related losses to agricultural producers. The damage was the result of abnormalities with extreme weather conditions, including ongoing drought.

“Farmers in some areas of north Central Washington are struggling with as little as half the average moisture they see in an average year. Ranchers who graze cattle in the Okanagan are reporting some of the worst conditions they have seen in years,” Gregoire said. “I am requesting this disaster declaration so growers who experienced the heaviest damage can take advantage of low-interest loans and other federal assistance if they need it.”

The request includes disaster declarations for Chelan, Douglas, Ferry, Grant, Lincoln and Okanogan counties. A map of the drought conditions in the state is available on the U.S. Drought Monitor, http://www.drought.unl.edu/dm/DM_state.htm?WA,W.

According to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, the towns of Wenatchee, Omak and Ephrata and surrounding areas have received less than 60 percent of normal accumulated precipitation this year.

The USDA disaster declaration could provide emergency low-interest loans from the department’s Farm Service Agency to cover production and farm property losses to farmers in the primary as well as adjoining counties. USDA recently announced other disaster programs administered by the Farm Service Agency that may benefit ranchers suffering from drought.

For additional information, contact Robert W. Gore, deputy director, Washington State Department of Agriculture, at 360-902-1810 or the Farm Service Agency office in Spokane at 509-323-3000.