Federal help sought after rainy spring ruins Delaware corn crop, other vegetables

In hopes of getting farmers some financial relief from the loss of early-season crops, Delaware Agriculture Secretary Michael Scuse has filed an emergency disaster declaration with the USDA’s Farm Service Agency. (File/WHYY)

In hopes of getting farmers some financial relief from the loss of early-season crops, Delaware Agriculture Secretary Michael Scuse has filed an emergency disaster declaration with the USDA’s Farm Service Agency. (File/WHYY)

Too much of a good thing. That’s the situation Delaware farmers are facing following a very wet April and May. Now the state Department of Agriculture wants an emergency declaration from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help farmers cover their losses.

Some parts of Delaware got nearly half of the annual average rainfall total within three months. From April through June 24, Georgetown in southern Delaware got a total of 22.43 inches of rain. That’s more than double the average rainfall for that time period, which is typically just 10.64 inches.

All that water has had a serious impact on Delaware farms. According to the weekly crop reports filed with the USDA, the Sussex County corn crop has critical problems. One report found “excessive rain has flooded low spots — now not replantable.”  Green beans and peas are also in “poor shape,” the report added, “with harvesting in the slop problematic.”

In hopes of getting farmers some financial relief from the loss of early-season crops, Delaware Agriculture Secretary Michael Scuse filed an emergency disaster declaration with the USDA’s Farm Service Agency.

“It is impossible for Delaware farmers to come out of this without emergency assistance,” Scuse said. “Many of our fruit and vegetable farms have taken a beating, and other crops definitely will not be able to reach optimal yields.”

Some farmers are trying for the third or fourth time to plant corn, Scuse said. “That’s a lot of money invested in seed, and, when the bill arrives, they are going to need help paying it,” he said.

If the USDA grants the disaster declaration, farmers would be eligible to apply for emergency loans to help them recover. Farmers have nine months to apply for a loan once the declaration is made official.

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