Austin, TX (STL.News) Governor Greg Abbott has requested a USDA disaster designation for Cameron, Hidalgo, and Willacy counties in response to severe winter weather that has impacted the state. This designation would make federal assistance, such as emergency loans, available to agricultural producers who have suffered losses in designated counties, as well as in counties that are contiguous to a designated county.
“Texas agricultural producers continue to be greatly affected by the severe ice and freezing temperatures; these weather conditions have substantially affected producers and caused severe production losses,” reads the letter. “These producers are in need of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) assistance to return to normal operations. For example, early estimates made by Texas Citrus Mutual show Texas citrus sustained approximately $305.0 million loss to the crop in Cameron, Hidalgo, and Willacy counties. Total damage assessments are still being calculated, but daily agriculture operations across the entire state have been slowed both by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and by loss of electricity and continued freezing temperatures caused by severe winter weather.”