By ELISABETH HARRISON
Providence, RI – Governor Lincoln Chafee is seeking a federal disaster declaration for agriculture in the wake of Tropical Storm Irene. The Governor has written a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, saying agriculture related businesses suffered severe damage. State officials estimate that 20 to 30 percent of the apple crop in some Rhode Island counties was lost due to the storm. Farmers are expecting a strong apple harvest this year, which may help make up for some of the crops affected by Irene.
A federal agriculture disaster designation would make Ocean State farmers eligible for federal aid programs in addition to loans already available because the state has been declared a disaster area.
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