ALBANY -- Farms and businesses from the Adirondacks to the Catskills that were pounded by tropical storms late last summer are now eligible for state grants of up to $20,000 as communities continue trying to recover.

The state Empire State Development Corp. is urging farmers and business operators to apply by Friday's deadline for the $21 million Business Flood Recovery Grant Program.

The grant money was announced in January, but the Cuomo administration is making a last-minute push to sign up more than the 300 businesses that have so far applied. Hundreds more could be eligible. The grant program is in addition to federal and state disaster grants and loans and the state program is designed to cover business costs not covered by the other government programs. The typical grant and the number of recipients won't be available until after Friday's deadline to apply.

Tropical storms Irene and Lee in late summer threw barns, silos and small businesses off their foundations, flooded basements for weeks and forced the gutting of longtime, thriving stores because of water damage and mold.

Most businesses -- already limping through the recession in the hard-hit areas of the Mohawk Valley and isolated Catskills -- were without power for weeks and out of action for more than a month, stopping cash flow while debts accumulated for cleaning and repairs.

"We are pulling out all the stops to help those affected by the floods start over," said Kenneth Adams, chief executive of the Cuomo administration's economic development agency. "We urge those eligible to contact ESD for additional information and to apply for these available resources designated to help our communities get back to business."

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