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Colorado governor seeks federal aid following peach freeze

The governor of Colorado, Jared Polis says that he is seeking federal aid for farmers impacted by a freeze that wiped out significant portions of the state’s peach crop.

Polis said he sought the aid as a result of an April 14 freeze in Colorado’s Western Slope region.

In a statement, Polis and state Commissioner of Agriculture Kate Greenberg said they requested a Secretarial Disaster Declaration from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The emergency declaration enables farms to access assistance programs including loans with flexible repayment terms.

Peaches account for 75% of fruit production in the state, with the peach industry typically producing 17,000 tons (15,422 metric tons) of fruit with nearly $40 million in revenue, according to figures released by Polis.

Bruce Talbott of Talbott Farms in Palisade said the freeze likely wiped out as much as 80% of normal production at the peach farm.

Dennis Clark of Clark Family Orchards, another peach grower in Palisade, believes relief assistance would help some businesses.

“I’m sure all growers would look into it if there’s something available,” he said. If the request is granted by the USDA, farmers in Mesa, Delta, Montrose and Montezuma counties would gain access to financial assistance and other programs to try to recoup their losses from the freeze.

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