Gov. Ted Kulongoski and Katy Coba, director of the Oregon Department of Agriculture, have gone to bat for Oregon nurseries by seeking a disaster declaration, which would free up assistance to those who suffered winter storm damage.
The announcement was made at an OAN-organized meeting Tuesday afternoon in Wilsonville. On Monday, Kulongoski wrote a letter asking the U.S. secretary of agriculture to declare a disaster. Previously, on Jan. 2, Coba wrote a letter to Larry Frey, who directs the USDA Farm Service Agency at the state level in Oregon. Kulongoski’s letter sought a secretarial disaster declaration, while Coba’s asked for an administrative disaster declaration.
Both declarations have the potential to free up aid for growers suffering the effects of collapsed hoop houses and frozen field-grown crops due to the abnormally high amount of snow and ice that fell in December. This would be in addition to programs that help growers even without a disaster declaration.
At the Tuesday meeting, state and federal officials — including Coba and Frey — outlined aid programs that are available, or may become available, for Oregon growers. Among others, these programs include low-interest loans, conservation grants to repair damage to land, assistance for non-insured crops, commodity insurance programs, assistance to replace revenue lost due to disaster, and a tree-specific program that covers losses due to adverse weather.
Over the next several days, the Oregon Association of Nurseries plans to make information about these programs available to members in much greater detail on its Web site, www.oan.org. There also will be information on the Daily Digger blog, www.diggermag.blogspot.com, under the label “Storm Damage Resources.” Both will be updated regularly, so check back as new information is posted.