Easton farmers can seek assistance to help offset crop losses they experienced from the summer drought. Governor Ned Lamont announced on Tuesday that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved his request to expand a natural disaster declaration to all eight of the state’s counties.

In August , the federal agency approved primary disaster declarations for New London and Windham counties because of the drought. Hartford, Middlesex and Tolland counties were also included in the declarations due to their proximity to New London and Windham counties.

“The entirety of Connecticut is now covered under this natural disaster designation from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, allowing farmers in all eight of our counties to seek emergency assistance stemming from their production losses due to the drought,” Lamont stated in a press release. “Agricultural producers support thousands of jobs in Connecticut and are a critical component of our economy.”

Easton farmers impacted by the summer drought can apply for assistance such as low-interest loans to continue supporting their business by contacting the local Farm Service Agency office for Fairfield County. Farmers have eight months from the date of the declaration to apply for assistance.

State Rep. Anne Hughes praised the federal declaration as a pathway for assistance for Easton’s growers and farmers.

 “Easton, Redding and Weston are home to many farms that dealt with tough drought conditions this summer,” Hughes stated in a press release. “No amount of after-the-fact rain can bring back lost or significantly impacted crops with reduced yields.”

Irv Silverman, the owner of Silverman’s Farm, said he probably won’t apply for assistance. He said the summer drought didn’t impact his apple crop enough to seek relief.

“The apples will be a little smaller this year, but that means they’ll be tastier,” Silverman said.

Connecticut Agriculture Commissioner Bryan P. Hurlburt stated in a press release that “the recent rainfall has alleviated water concerns for producers but doesn’t bring back crops that were lost or significantly impacted with reduced yields.”

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