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Connecticut seeks disaster declaration for crop damage

HARTFORD — Gov. Ned Lamont announced Thursday he is seeking a disaster declaration from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help farmers whose crops were damaged by heavy rains and wind from last month's tropical storm.

Assessments conducted by the state Department of Agriculture found significant damage in all eight Connecticut counties as a result of Tropical Storm Elsa, the governor said.

If approved, the declaration will make farmers eligible for federal disaster assistance programs, such as emergency loans, to cover production losses they experienced as a result of the storm.

“Farm owners are small business owners, and not only are they responsible for employing a significant number of people and generating economic activity, but they grow the food that we all rely on,” Lamont said in a statement. “Any bit of relief from the damage sustained during this tropical storm will be an aid to these farmers.”

Tropical Storm Elsa brought up to 5 inches of rain to parts of the state on July 9. It was followed by other storm systems that brought monthly rainfall in July to more than 7 inches above average some areas, state officials said.

Bryan Hurlburt, the state's agriculture commissioner, said crop damage was “significantly above the 30% trigger” needed for an emergency declaration.

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