Resources for Family Farmers Affected by Hurricane Sandy

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.


Risk Management for Fruit Growers

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.

Funding Support for On-Farm Energy

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is accepting applications for the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). The REAP program offers grants and loan guarantees for farmers and rural small businesses to implement renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvements. REAP has several components, with the following deadlines:

  • Renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement grant applications and combination grant and guaranteed loan applications until March 30, 2012;
  • Renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement guaranteed loan only applications
  • on a continuous basis up to June 29, 2012;
  • Renewable energy system feasibility study applications through March 30, 2012; and Energy audits and renewable energy development assistance applications through February 21, 2012.

In addition, applicants who applied for REAP funding in FY2011 and were determined to be eligible, but
were not funded, may submit a written request to USDA to consider the application for FY2012 funds.

Click here for more information.

New National Funding for Farm to School

Deadlines for the USDA Food & Nutrition Service (FNS) Farm to School Grant Program are quickly approaching! In this first funding cycle, FNS anticipates awarding up to $3.5 million to support Farm to School planning and implementation efforts in eligible schools. Be sure to mark your calendars: all eligible applicants are encouraged to submit a Letter of Intent by May 18, 2012, and final Farm to School grant proposals are due by June 15, 2012.

National Farm to School Director Deborah Kane and Grants Management Specialist Greg Walton will present two upcoming webinars to provide more information about the Farm to School Grant Program:

  • Tuesday, May 15, 3:00 pm EST – Implementation Grants webinar
  • Thursday, May 17, 1:00 pm EST – Planning Grants webinar

All webinar participants must register in advance.

For more information about the program, check out the new FAQ guide and sample planning and implementation grant proposals, now available on the Farm to School Grant Program website.

Learn the Basics of Sustainable Farming and Holistic Management

The National Sustainable Agricultural Information Service (ATTRA), managed by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT), offers two publications for farmers interested in integrating environmental, economic and social sustainability on their farms.

Applying the Principles of Sustainable Farming provides practical examples of how to apply new sustainability principles on the farm. Holistic Management: A Whole-Farm Decision Making Framework helps farmers establish long-term goals, detailed financial and biological plans, and monitoring programs for their farms by incorporating Holistic Management principles.

For more resources on sustainable farm management options, visit ATTRA’s website and the Sustainable Options Resource Guide from Farm Aid.