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Governor Phil Scott Requests Secretarial Disaster Designation from U.S. Department of Agriculture in Response to Severe Flooding

July 14, 2023

Berlin, Vt. - Governor Phil Scott has requested that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) issue a disaster designation for the State of Vermont in response to severe July flooding. A Secretarial Disaster Designation would open the availability of financial assistance, including low-interest USDA Farm Service Agency emergency loans for eligible producers in the approved counties.

“It is too early to fully describe or even estimate damages, but it is clear losses will be catastrophic and our farmers and agricultural producers will need help. In our mountainous State, much of our most fertile farmland lies in river valleys, and countless fields of corn, hay, vegetables, fruit, and pasture were swamped and buried,” wrote Governor Scott. “We expect that the excessive flooding and related silt and other contamination will destroy large shares of our produce and livestock feed.  Moreover, Vermont’s growing season is short, and a historic flood in the heart of it is particularly devastating.  Many crops cannot be replanted, and losses will not be effectively recovered or mitigated prior to our early fall harvest.”

“The losses are staggering. We are now focused on the recovery,” said Agriculture Secretary Anson Tebbetts. “It will take federal, state, local and private resources to help our farmers get through this.  We are committed to working with our public and private partners during this crisis.” 

The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets is encouraging all those who sustained losses to report their damages to their local Farm Services Agency office with USDA.

President Biden has already signed a separate major disaster declaration for the state.

Click here to view the full letter from Governor Scott to Secretary Tom Vilsack.