USDA designates July flooding a disaster in Vermont, making farmers eligible for emergency loans

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has designated Vermont a natural disaster area from the catastrophic July flooding, making farms eligible for emergency federal loans, Republican Gov. Phil Scott announced Tuesday.

It's the second USDA disaster declaration for Vermont this summer. In July, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack approved Scott's request for a disaster declaration for the May frost that hit many growers, including vineyards and apple orchards.

Since the July flooding, farmers have reported over $16 million in damage and losses, according to Vermont Agriculture Secretary Anson Tebbetts.

"Our farming community has faced a one-two punch this year that some may not survive,” Tebbetts said in a statement. “This designation can provide a lifeline to these important farm and food businesses with resources until next year’s growing season.”

The latest designation makes farms hit by the flooding eligible for emergency loans from the Farm Service Agency, Scott said. They have eight months from the date of the declaration to apply.