State Drought Disaster Designation Expected

BERLIN – Governor Martin O’Malley confirmed with U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns this week that a drought disaster declaration for the entire state of Maryland would soon formally be announced.

O’Malley called Johanns yesterday for an update on Maryland’s request for a drought disaster designation. This designation, in response to O’Malley’s July 26 request to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for a Secretarial Disaster Designation for all Maryland counties, will help provide assistance and financial relief to Maryland farmers impacted by the severe dry weather and excessive heat from June 1 and continuing through the summer months.

"This is welcome news for Maryland farmers who have been hard-hit by drought conditions this summer," said O’Malley. "Secretary Johanns informed me earlier [Thursday] that Maryland’s request for a drought disaster declaration will be formally announced … Working with the State Farm Service Agency and the Maryland Department of Agriculture, we estimate that farmers in Maryland have lost between 30 and 60 percent of their crop and we hope this disaster designation will provide some relief to our local farmers, who are a vital part of Maryland’s economy. We will continue to work with the Maryland Department of Agriculture and our federal delegation to help our farmers get through this drought. I also want to thank our federal delegation for all of their continued efforts to help and support Maryland farmers."

This designation makes Maryland farm operators eligible to apply for low-interest emergency loans from the USDA Farm Service Agency. Affected farmers should contact their local Farm Service Agency for more information.

"I want to thank Governor O’Malley for moving quickly to help Maryland farmers impacted by the drought," said Roger Richardson, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Agriculture. "We hope this will have some financial benefit to our producers to help them continue their operations into the future."