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Western New York declared ‘natural disaster’ because of drought

Western New York counties are among two dozen upstate that are being listed as natural disaster areas from this year’s drought, according to a statement from Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

The drought, caused by rainfall deficit of more than a half-foot in some spots dating back to last winter, has ravaged area crops and farmlands.

The disaster declaration will help area farmers affected by the drought to receive assistance, including emergency loans from the federal government to off-set losses.

“Strong agriculture is critical to the vibrancy of Upstate New York and this year’s hot, dry summer has created significant challenges to this crucial industry,” Cuomo said in a statement Wednesday. “In these difficult times, we must ensure that they have full access to all the resources necessary for making a full recovery.”

Included in the primary counties most affected by the drought are Erie, Niagara, Genesee and Wyoming.

Other area counties, including Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Allegany and Orleans, are named as “contiguous disaster counties” in the declaration.

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