Producers are encouraged to investigate options before a disaster hits
In today’s changing climate, natural disasters, and the severity and frequency with which they occur, seem to be becoming more commonplace than in the past. Wildfires, tornadoes, flooding and drought can all wreak havoc on a farm. One of those disasters recently hit close to home – here in the Ozarks. This year was marked by a severe drought that caused many agricultural producers to have to make tough calls about their operations.
Through the USDA, producers can apply for financial assistance in the wake of a natural disaster.
Just a few of the disaster assistance programs available to producers include the Emergency Conservation Program, the Livestock Forage Program, the Livestock Indemnity Program, the Emergency Livestock Assistance Program and the Tree Assistance Program.
Producers who are determined qualified by the Farm Service Agency will receive compensation (financial assistance varies by program) for livestock or crop loss, assistance to conserve water, remove debris, or replant orchards, depending on which program they are participating in.
In order to apply for funding, producers will need to visit their local FSA office to register their farm and set up an account.
This process includes basics such as name, address and Social Security number, as well as providing documentation that the producer either owns or leases the land affected by a natural disaster. While everyone hopes they won’t require disaster assistance, it is a practical measure to visit the FSA and provide records before a disaster occurs; then the producer’s information is already in the system and that is one less thing to have to worry about if the unthinkable occurs.
Once the producer’s account has been created and the application processed, county FSA committees will visit the site for an inspection to determine program eligibility. Each program has different requirements – visiting the USDA website at the Disaster Assistance Programs page will help determine what the requirements are and what farms fall under what program.
Once funding has been received, participants must be prepared to keep careful records of funds spent, and accurate accounting and reporting on the progress of the program. Producers should visit their local FSA office today to establish an account and a relationship.