PROVIDENCE, RI – In an effort to help drought-stricken farmers, U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and U.S. Representatives Jim Langevin and David Cicilline today announced that Rhode Island received a disaster declaration from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).  The USDA declaration will help ensure appropriate federal assistance is made available to eligible Rhode Island farmers and agricultural producers who have been negatively impacted as a result of the ongoing drought, including low-interest emergency loans for qualified farm operators.

According to data from the National Weather Service, Rhode Island experienced its driest July to September on record.  The USDA drought declaration applies statewide and was made based on severe drought designations by U.S. Drought Monitor, which uses data from a coalition of national scientists and agriculture organizations.

“Rhode Island farmers have been facing difficult conditions that have been made even tougher because of serious drought conditions.  This federal declaration should help mitigate some of the production losses local farmers are dealing with,” said all four members of the Congressional delegation in a joint statement.

Rhode Island farmers and growers who believe they may qualify for federal assistance may contact their local Farm Service Agency office to determine drought relief eligibility under USDA programs.