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Hay Producers Suffer
August 19, 2004
For Immediate Release
AUGUSTA – Agriculture Commissioner Robert W. Spear announced Thursday that he was seeking federal help for hay producers who have suffered this year from poor cuttings or poor quality.
“I have heard from livestock operators and folks who hay for a living that the state’s hay crop will be off this year because of weather conditions,” Spear said. “I have written our Congressional Delegation asking them to support a federal agricultural disaster package that includes emergency aid for farmers who have had poor forage production.”
Under past disaster packages passed by Congress and administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, producers have been eligible not only for quantity loss payments but quality loss payments, if farmers have documented the amount of crop affected, and the extent of the loss. As with quality loss claims for other commodities, the quality degradation must be measured and documented with verifiable evidence.
“While we are not assured the Congress will pass a disaster package when it returns from August recess, it is clear the there is a growing need in Maine and elsewhere for emergency assistance,” Spear said. “What is clear is that if farmers haven’t documented their losses they will not be eligible for the federal disaster assistance. So, I am encouraging growers to keep their records – whether measurements by approved consultants or test results from an approved lab.”
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