USDA approves disaster declaration for farmers in three Rhode Island counties after tropical storm Irene damaged crops; disaster declaration for state's agriculture industry still pending, U.S. Sens. say

PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island , September 23, 2011 () – Farmers in three Rhode Island counties who suffered damage from tropical storm Irene are now eligible for federal assistance.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture approved a disaster declaration Thursday for counties in several states impacted by Irene. In Rhode Island, the disaster declaration includes Bristol, Newport and Providence counties.

The decision means that farmers whose crops, livestock or equipment were damaged by Irene may apply to the USDA for emergency loans and other types of assistance.

Rhode Island's two U.S. senators, Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, announced the decision Thursday.

Reed and Whitehouse say a disaster declaration for the entire state's agricultural industry is still pending.

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