The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Friday that Orleans County is a farm disaster area because of the impact of highly changeable weather between February and April. A hard freeze followed by unseasonably warm temperatures was a setback to fruit trees.
Farmers in Niagara and Genesee counties also are eligible for federal assistance because those counties border on Orleans. They have eight months from the date of the disaster declaration to apply for low-interest emergency loans from the federal Farm Service Agency to cover their actual losses. The loans are not automatically granted; the agency will consider each application individually.