HAMBURG, N.Y. (WIVB) — Many farmers in Erie County were crushed by major damage in last year’s November snowstorm. Agricultural businesses in Erie County can now apply for relief money.

“It’s real simple no farms, no food,” said Erie County Legislature Minority leader John Mills.

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said that’s why he wanted to get money to farmers who suffered damage from last November’s storm.

Poloncarz and the legislature worked together to allocate $2 million from the 2022 budget surplus fund to award business grants of up to $200,000.

That money will help places like Draudt’s in Hamburg and other agricultural businesses with storm damage not covered by insurance.

Following last November’s snowstorm, Les Draudt didn’t know if his family business would see its 100-year anniversary. Heavy and wet snow pounded places like Hamburg, bringing Draudt’s greenhouses crashing down.

Draudt was able to build back and celebrate that milestone, but there was still a gap in expenses not covered by insurance.

“What we wanted to do was find a way in which we could assist them above and beyond any coverage they may have had from insurance,” said Poloncarz. “Insurance carriers generally do not cover greenhouse damage.”

“Especially with greenhouses, they depreciate rapidly,” added Draudt. “There was a gap between what insurance covered and what the actual re-building costs are. So, this money is going to help with that gap.”

“We lost seven on 15 greenhouses,” said Draudt. “So, it was huge.”

The Erie County Soil and Water Conservation District is administering these grants on Erie County’s behalf.

To apply for this program, click here.

Latest Local News

Patrick Ryan is an award-winning reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2020. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.