Gov. Abbott requests USDA disaster designation for Cameron, Hidalgo, Willacy counties

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Gov. Greg Abbott speaks at a press conference in which he issued another executive order on March 24, 2020, which in part, requires all hospitals to report bed capacity to the state. (Nexstar Photo/Wes Rapaport)

Harlingen, Texas (KVEO)—Governor Greg Abbott announced Friday he has requested a USDA disaster designation for Cameron, Hidalgo, and Willacy counties in response to severe winter weather that has impacted the state.

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The 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.

As additional production losses or losses to quality are assessed, the Governor will request that USDA extend its disaster designation to additional counties in Texas.

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“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.”

Read the Governor’s letter. 

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