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State Senate pushes for drought relief

Julia Botero
WRVO News File Photo
The summer's drought slowed the growth of crops like hay.

Republican senators have proposed a state budget for this year that includes $3 million towards helping upstate farmers recover from last summer’s drought, the worst the state has seen in decades. In some cases, the dry summer weather resulted in the loss of entire crops. The federal government designated more than 20 counties national disaster areas due to the severity of the drought.

Lawmakers in the state Senate have approved a relief package they say would deliver on promises made last year to help the affected farmers. Farm Bureau Field Advisor Mark James says any assistance would come in handy, especially at a time when farmers are preparing for the upcoming season.

“Right now they’ve already purchased seed, they’re purchasing fertilizer to get ready for spring planting, so they need that capital to move forwards,” said James. "We had a lot of farmers that lost some or all their crops last year. So it’s a cash flow issue for farmers trying to maintain.”

James is hopeful that the $3 million included in the state Senate budget will make it into the final spending plan. Lawmakers are currently negotiating the details of the budget in Albany with a deadline of April 1.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.