As winter storms barrel across the United States, farmers, ranchers, rural communities, families and small businesses affected by these storms can access U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs that provide assistance. USDA staff in the regional, state and county offices are prepared with a variety of program flexibilities and other assistance to residents, agricultural producers and impacted communities.
“USDA is committed to getting help to producers and rural Americans impacted by the severe weather in many parts of the country. As severe weather and natural disasters continue to threaten the livelihoods of thousands of our farming families, we want you and your communities to know that USDA stands with you,” said acting Secretary of Agriculture Kevin Shea. “Visit farmers.gov or your local USDA Service Center to inquire about assistance.”
USDA offers several risk management and disaster assistance options to help producers recover after they are impacted by severe weather, including those impacted by winter storms and extreme cold.
Producers that signed up for Federal Crop Insurance or the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) who suffer losses are asked to report crop damage to their crop insurance agent or local FSA office, respectively, within 72 hours of damage discovery and follow up in writing within 15 days.
Livestock and perennial crop producers often have more limited risk management options available, so there are several disaster programs for them. Key programs include
USDA reminds producers that it’s critical to keep accurate records to document the losses and illnesses following this devastating cold weather event. Livestock producers are advised to document beginning livestock numbers by taking photos or videos of any losses.
Other common documentation options include:
Additionally, USDA can provide financial resources through its Environmental Quality Incentives Programto help with immediate needs and long-term support to help recover from natural disasters and conserve water resources. Assistance may also be available for emergency animal mortality disposal from natural disasters and other causes.
The Farm Service Agency (FSA) also has a variety of loans available including emergency loans that are triggered by disaster declarations and operating loans that can assist producers with credit needs.
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