September 12, 2019 3:30 a.m.
Oregon’s U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley announced on Wednesday that millions of dollars appropriated in the bi-partisan disaster relief package this summer, is now available for Oregon wine and hazelnut growers.
Merkley said the bill included significant support for producers across the west who were affected by wildfires, such as Oregon winegrowers, and help for those affected by severe winter storms, including Oregon hazelnut growers. He said now 2 of Oregon’s major industries can “recover and thrive”.
Wyden said the resources will provide much-needed help so the state’s wine and hazelnut enterprises can recover from natural disasters that high “their world-renowned products”.
Jana McKamey, Vice-President of Government Affairs for the Oregon Winegrowers Association said the organization is pleased that Oregon winegrowers may be eligible for federal disaster relief if their crops were negatively impacted by “devastating 2018 wildfires”.
Larry George, CEO of George Packing Company said hazelnuts are one of Oregon’s top agricultural commodities. He said he appreciated Senator Merkley’s leadership as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and “the efforts of our entire federal delegation in helping secure this vital funding”.
The release from the Senators, said the $19.1 billion disaster relief package included more than $3 billion for agricultural producers whose crops were affected by natural disasters in 2018 and 2019. It includes an estimated $3 million for winegrowers whose grapes were affected by wildfire smoke, and $11 million for hazelnut growers whose crops were damaged in severe storms.
Relief is being distributed through the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency.