USDA Offers Assistance to Carolina Farmers and Ranchers Affected by Floods

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reminds farmers and ranchers, families and small businesses affected by the recent floods in North and South Carolina that USDA has programs to assist with their recovery efforts. State and county staff in USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), Farm Service Agency (FSA), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Risk Management Agency (RMA) and Rural Development (RD) offices stand ready to help.

“The catastrophic flooding in the Carolinas has caused unimaginable hardship for many producers, including farmers who are waiting for fields to dry so they can assess the damage and harvest what is salvageable of their crops,” said FSA Administrator Val Dolcini. “I encourage producers who experienced losses to take advantage of available disaster assistance programs and loans to alleviate part of the financial burden caused by devastating floods.”

Dolcini adds that farmers and ranchers should contact their FSA office to set an appointment during this busy season. He said it is important to learn what documents can help the local office expedite assistance, such as farm records, receipts and pictures of damages or losses.

FSA administers a suite of safety-net programs to help producers recover from eligible losses, including the Livestock Indemnity Program, the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program, Emergency Forest Restoration Program (EFRP) and the Tree Assistance Program.

Additionally, the FSA Emergency Conservation Program provides funding and technical assistance for farmers and ranchers to rehabilitate farmland damaged by natural disasters. Producers located in counties that received a primary or contiguous disaster designation are eligible for low-interest emergency loans to help them recover from production and physical losses.

Compensation is also available to producers who purchased coverage through the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program, which protects non-insurable crops against natural disasters that result in lower yields, crop losses or prevented planting.

Producers should use form FSA-576, Notice of Loss, to report prevented planting and failed acres in order to establish or retain FSA program eligibility. Prevented planting acreage must be reported no later than 15 calendar days after the final planting date as established by FSA and RMA.

Producers must file a Notice of Loss for failed acres on all crops including grasses in a timely fashion, often within 15 days of the occurrence or when the losses become apparent. Producers of hand-harvested crops must notify FSA of damage or loss within 72 hours of when the date of damage or loss first becomes apparent.[…] Full release