03.22.00

SCHUMER WINS $126 MILLION IN AID FOR NORTHEAST FARMERS

FIRST TIME MONEY EARMARKED FOR CROP INSURANCE IN NORTHEAST

US Senator Charles E. Schumer announced that his amendment, earmarking $126 million for crop insurance programs for Northeast farmers, was accepted by the United States Senate this afternoon. This is the first time ever that crop insurance money has been earmarked for Northeastern farmers.

"New York's farmers have never been included in traditional crop insurance efforts," said Schumer. "For too long, crop insurance programs have been designed for farmers in the Midwest, and have been nothing more than a mirage to our farmers. Because of that, disasters like last year's drought impact our farmers more severely than they should. The success that Senators Torricelli, Reed, Leahy and I had today helps to remedy that by ensuring that crop insurance programs specifically cover New York and other Northeast farmers, and makes funds available to help our farmers purchase that insurance."

The Schumer Amendment includes language earmarking money for "states in which there is traditionally, and continues to be, a low level of federal crop insurance participation and availability; and the Secretary of Agriculture determines that the state is underserved by federal crop insurance." That ensures that the money will be available to Northeastern states.

$66 million is earmarked to subsidize crop insurance payments, so that Northeast farmers will be able to purchase insurance. $40 million will be spent over the next four years for Education, Information and Insurance Provider Recruitment programs that will help New York farmers access crop insurance programs. Another $20 million will be spent for Research and Development of crop insurance programs which will, for the first time, be designed specifically to meet the needs of farmers in northeastern states.

"Historically, crop insurance programs have been tailored to farmers who grow "traditional" crops, such as wheat, corn and soybeans, and have been either inaccessible or unhelpful to New York farmers who grow specialty crops," said Schumer. "This amendment helps to end that disparity. This is a huge victory for farmers in the Northeast."

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