The U.S. Department of Agriculture approved Oregon’s request for a natural disaster designation after the state’s cherry growers lost an average of 35 percent of their crop. 

The designation cites two weather events in July that caused crop loss: excessive rain in Hood River County and a drought and heat event in Wasco County, according to a news release from the Oregon governor’s office. Under this designation, growers in the primarily impacted counties and neighboring counties are eligible to apply for emergency loans from the USDA Farm Service Agency through October of this year.

In November, Washington similarly requested a Secretarial Disaster Designation for the 2023 cherry harvest, and in February, a bipartisan group of the state’s senators and Congress members urged the USDA to approve it. (Oregon’s request was first sent in September.) 

Meanwhile, the Northwest Horticultural Council and other industry groups have sought disaster assistance payments for Northwest cherry growers. That would require support from Congress, and it’s unclear if or when lawmakers might act on that issue, said Mark Powers, executive director of the council, in an update given to the Washington State Fruit Commission board of directors in March. 

by Kate Prengaman