Orange County farmers seek federal funds after losing crops

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Many farmers in Orange County who lost their crops as a result of repeated flooding attended a meeting in Goshen this afternoon to learn how they can get federal assistance. Chip Lain, an eighth-generation farmer, says he's never seen damage so severe. After losing his entire soybean harvest, he says he was forced to lay off employees. "I'm hoping to find assistance for my employees so that they can go on unemployment," he says. "We may be closed the rest of the year."Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) representatives say they're doing everything they can to help the owners of some 600 farms in the Black Dirt region, but they advise them to be patient. "In the past, there has been help that has come, and I assume it will be the same," says Rusty Witwer, of FEMA. Farm insurance is expected to help cover some crop losses, and attempts are being made to secure funding for the Emergency Conservation Program.Preliminary estimates by the Orange County Farm Service Agency put the crop losses at $36 million.

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