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On Thursday, June 9th, Nevada County Agricultural Commissioner Chris de Nijs has requested a USDA disaster declaration through the California Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) for grape growers in Nevada County due to freezing temperatures that affected their crops in mid-April.

In a letter to Cal OES Director Mark Ghilarducci, de Nijs stated, “on both April 12th and April 13th, temperatures in Nevada County fell well below freezing (reported as low as 26°F). The freezing temperatures killed much, if not all, of the new growth already present on the vines.”

A survey of grape growers revealed an overall estimated production loss of 55% throughout the county, including anticipated yields of 1.75 tons per acre compared to the five-year average of 3.85 tons per acre. This would result in $1,236,362.40 of lost revenue for Nevada County grape growers.

“Our team of Agricultural Biologists sent surveys out to local agricultural producers and made field visits to assess and record damages,” added de Nijs. “While many other crops also experienced damage, the grape crop was the only crop we found to have met the 30% loss threshold to qualify for a USDA disaster declaration request.”

If the request is approved by USDA, then USDA’s Farm Service Agency will notify farmers of the availability of the emergency loans and any other USDA assistance that may be available.