Farm Disaster Assistance


    Federal Farm Disaster Assistance

    When a disaster or emergency strikes, coordinated assistance provided by Federal, State, and local agencies is available. A large number of programs are available, and some depend on whether or not the a state's governor has requested and received a major disaster or emergency declaration from President of the United States.

    After making a major disaster or emergency declaration, the President appoints a Federal Coordinating Officer, who coordinates all Federal disaster assistance programs and (with their consent) the efforts of private relief organizations. The kinds of assistance and the localities eligible to receive help are then designated, and a temporary Disaster Field Office is opened within the affected areas. The office usually is located with the Office of the State Coordinating Officer, appointed by the Governor.

    A Presidential declaration of a major disaster which specifies "individual assistance" make a broad range of services available to individual survivors. Assistance may include:

      *Agricultural assistance, administered by the Farm Service Agency, including technical assistance; payment covering a major portion of the cost to eligible farmers who performs emergency conservation actions on farmland damaged by the disaster; and provision of federally-owned feed grain for livestock and herd preservation.

      *Disaster housing if homes are uninhabitable. Home repair funds may be given to owner-occupants in stead of other forms of disaster housing assistance so that families can quickly return to their damaged homes.

      *Unemployment and job placement assistance for those unemployed as a result of the major disaster.

      *Individual and family grants to help meet disaster-related necessary expenses when those affected are unable to meet such expenses or needs through other programs or other means.

      *Legal services to low-income families and individuals.

      *Crisis counseling and referrals to mental health agencies to relieve disaster-caused mental health problems.

      *Loans to individuals, businesses, and farmers for repair, rehabilitation, or replacement of damaged real and personal property and some production costs not fully covered by insurance.

      *The Cora Brown Fund, to assist victims of natural disasters for those disaster-related need that have not been or will not be met by government agencies or private organizations that have programs to address such needs.

    Applications for disaster housing and individual and family grants are processed at FEMA's National Processing Centers.

    A Presidential declaration can also result in the availability of a number of other services which are provided to state and local governments and some local institutions. One example is clearance of debris, when in the public interest, on public or private lands or waters.

    In some cases assistance is available from the Federal Government even if there is no Presidential declaration.

    For example, search and rescue services may be provided by the Coast Guard or Armed Forces to help evacuate disaster victims and transport supplies and equipment. Flood protection may also be available by means of flood-fighting and rescue operations to protect, repair, and restore certain flood-control works that are threatened, damaged, or destroyed by a flood.

    Federal assistance can also be provided to help control forest and grassland fires on public or private lands that threaten to become a major disaster.

    Two Farm Service Agency programs are available regardless of whether or not a Presidential declaration has been made: the Farm Service Agency's Agricultural Conservation Program; and Emergency Loans for Agriculture

    Disaster Loans for Homeowners and Businesses are administered by the Small Business Administration and provide both direct and bank-participation disaster loans for damage and destruction to all qualified primary residence homeowners. Programs are available for agriculture-dependent businesses (cooperatives, for example, but not individual farms) to repair and replace damaged or destroyed real and personal property. SBA loans are available when a Presidential declaration of a major disaster specifies "individual assistance." If a Presidential declaration is not invoked, governors can request that the SBA make an Agency declaration which, if granted, activates the SBA programs.

    The following links will provide an overview of disaster response services:

      *A 300-page Farmers' Guide to Disaster Assistance, provides much-needed detail about each Federal program. It is available for $18 to farmers, ranchers, and nonprofit organizations. Click here for information and the order form.

      *Toll-free numbers for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) To report damages, call 1-800-462-9029; For general information or to check on the status of you report, call 1-800 525-0321

      *Farm Service Agency:
      Natural Disaster Assistance Programs

    Details and guidelines for three specific FSA programs can be found here:

      *Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) ECP shares with agricultural producers the cost of rehabilitating eligible farmlands damaged by natural disaster. During severe drought, ECP also provides emergency water assistance -‹ both for livestock and for existing irrigation systems for orchards and vineyards. ECP may be made available in areas without regard to a Presidential or Secretarial emergency disaster designation.

      *Emergency Loan Assistance (EM) FSA provides low-interest EM loan assistance to eligible farmers to help cover production and physical losses in counties declared as disaster areas by the President or designated by the Secretary of Agriculture. The FSA Administrator may also authorize EM loan assistance to cover physical losses only.

      *Emergency Haying and Grazing Assistance Emergency haying and grazing of certain Conservation Reserve Program acreage may be made available in areas suffering from weather-related natural disaster.

    Also check theres links to other United States Department of Agriculture disaster programs.

      *Small Business Administration disaster assistance programs are available for farm families and business owners.

      *Food Stamps Families that already receive foodstamps and who experience a disaster may qualify for replacement of food stamp coupons or food destroyed in a disaster. Families receiving food stamps who have lost food coupons or food in a disaster should contact their caseworker in the county office.

    Return to Assistance

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