Two-thirds of Virginia Declared Federal Disaster Area For Low Interest Farm Loans
Governor McDonnell has announced federal disaster designations for 60 localities, covering two-thirds of the state.
So far, the news is not good.
Lidholme: It has been a bad year for about two-thirds of the state.
Elaine Lidholme, Virginia Department of Agriculture.
Lidholme: We not only had a severe drought that started early, but the excessive heat, and the two of those together are worse that either one by itself.
Nobody knows it better than Ken Engel.
Engel: Right now I'm standing on a farm I own in Sussex.
Engel farms 15,000 acres in 15 Virginia counties, mostly corn, and that crop has been cut in half.
Engel: Pretty much a disaster.
The disaster designation means farmers can apply for low-interest loans; the hope is, Congress might also approve outright grants. Ken Engel says he has millions tied up in farming and has had some good years and some bad years.
Engel: You're having a good year and farmers are making money and they need it, 'cause they've gotta stockpile for years like this, when you don't, when you lose so much money.
Farming is Virginia’s biggest industry, at 55 billion a year.
Charles Fishburne, WCVE News