WASHINGTON—The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced it has approved a request to designate Delta and Mesa Counties as natural disaster areas. Congressman Scott Tipton (CO-03) along with Colorado Senators Cory Gardner and Michael Bennet sent a letter to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue in April asking for approval of the request following the historic late season freeze that led to a near total loss of crops for several farmers in the region. Tipton provided the following statement on the announcement:
“The historic late season freeze placed an incredibly difficult burden on farmers on the Western Slope, in addition to the already challenging times created by the COVID-19 outbreak. I am glad Secretary Perdue listened to our calls to address this dire situation and provide farmers in the area additional options for temporary relief to get them through these tough times. This relief will allow farmers to financially recover faster so they may begin to focus their attention to the next growing season, and we can all look forward to enjoying the famed Palisade Peaches next summer.”
The Western Slope was hit with widespread freezing in April resulting in a near total loss of peaches and other fruit bearing crops in the area, an industry that expects economic losses to reach upwards of $50 million.
The disaster declaration makes additional resources available for farmers impacted by the freeze through relief administered by the USDA’s Farm Service Agency. More information on relief available can be found here.
Garfield, Montrose, Gunnison and Pitkin Counties were also given the status as contiguous disaster areas. The letter approving the declaration can be found here or viewed below…