As Hurricane Sandy barrels into the Northeast, many farmers are feeling the impact of this superstorm. Family farm organizations, state departments of agriculture and emergency management agencies have issued warning, urging farmers to prepare for the storm’s damage. The National Young Farmers’ Coalition has compiled a list of preparedness suggestions to help farmers minimize destruction to their crops, livestock, equipment and farmland.
As the storm continues, farmers are encouraged to take important steps to prepare for the after-effects:
- Compile important phone numbers and documents for your county extension agent, crop insurance agent, emergency management district, county Farm Service Agency (FSA) and veterinarians.
- Document and photograph farm losses to report to your state’s FSA office.
- Visit the FSA website for more information on Disaster Assistance Programs.
- Any damage to homes or barns should be reported to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at 1-800-621-FEMA.
For state-specific information about Hurricane Sandy, contact your state’s department of agriculture.
This post will be updated with more resources as they come in. Please let us know if we are missing any important information or assistance programs. Stay safe!
**UPDATE** For information on how to support recovery efforts in state’s affected by Sandy, visit the Responding to Sandy resources page compiled by The Vermont Community Foundation. Visit Farm Aid’s Disaster Assistance for Family Farmers page for a comprehensive list of recovery resources available to farmers facing natural disasters.
USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) has announced expansions to crop insurance options for blueberry, cherry and grape growers in Oregon and Washington state:
- Blueberry Crop Insurance
Expanded availability for Benton, Cowlitz, Franklin, Grant, Snohomish, Walla Walla and Yakima counties in Washington.
- Cherry Actual Revenue History (Cherry-ARH) Crop Insurance
Expanded availability for Gilliam and Sherman counties in Oregon and Kittitas County, Washington.
- Grape Crop Insurance
The Mourvedre variety is now recognized as a separate type in the central Washington counties; previously insured within the ‘all other red & pink varieties’ grouping.
RMA reminds growers throughout the country that November 20, 2012 is the last day to apply for coverage of many fruit crops (apples, blueberries, cherry “Actual Revenue History” pilot, cranberries, grapes, pears, and stonefruit). Growers who currently hold insurance policies, as well as currently uninsured growers, must make decisions about their insurance needs for 2013 before this date.
RMA encourages growers to contact their insurance agents as soon as possible – find a list of agents here. If your county does not have coverage for a specific crop under the traditional Multi-Peril Crop Insurance Program, be sure to ask your crop insurance agent if you’re eligible for coverage under a “written agreement.”
Visit the RMA website for more information on crop insurance.
The Farm Service Agency (FSA) shared an updated farm loan program factsheet on its website with new information effective October 1, 2012. The factsheet provides an overview of the types of loans available and borrower eligibility information. Under the FSA farm loans program, farmers can apply for farm ownership loans, farm operating loans, a downpayment program for socially disadvantaged and beginning farmers, rural youth loans, emergency loans, conservation loans, land contract guarantees and loan servicing and supervised credit.
A Farm Loan Information Chart is also available, providing a concise summary for each loan program and details on the maximum borrowing amount and the rates and terms and use of proceeds for each type of loan.
Visit the FSA website for more information on FSA Farm Loan programs.