Farmers, livestock producers can seek assistance

Vincent Marshall
Dodge City Daily Globe

With the winter storms that blanketed across the country in recent weeks causing power outages and frozen water lines, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced it is offering assistance to Kansas farmers and livestock producers to help in recovery efforts.

According to the USDA, ag producers can contact their local service centers for program information.

“These recent winter storms have taken their toll on farmers and ranchers in Kansas,” said acting state executive director for USDA’s Farm Service Agency in Kansas Charles Pettijohn. “We stand with our producers who have worked tirelessly in these severe conditions to keep livestock fed and to protect crops from Mother Nature’s wrath. "We know these storms have left damage in their wake, and I’m glad that USDA offers a strong portfolio of disaster assistance programs available to help.”

To apply for eligible programs for disaster assistance, the USDA encourages farmers and ranchers to contact the FSA county office at the local USDA Service Center such as for the Livestock Indemnity Program for producers who lost livestock due to death.

The Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program provides eligible producers with compensation for feed and grazing losses and producers will need to file a notice of the losses within 30 days and honeybee losses within 15 days.

The Tree Assistance Program is for eligible orchardists and nursery tree growers who may be eligible for cost-share assistance to replant or rehabilitate eligible trees, bushes or vines lost.

The Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program covers the crop but not the plants or trees in all cases.

A program application must be filed within 90 days for the Tree Assistance Program.

“Crop insurance and other USDA risk management options are there to help producers manage risk because we never know what nature has in store for the future,” said Collin Olsen, the director of RMA’s Regional Office covering Kansas. “The Approved Insurance Providers, loss adjusters and agents are experienced and well trained in handling these types of events.”

There are also a variety of loans offered through the FSA such as operating and emergency loans, to producers unable to secure commercial financing.

If a county is designated a disaster, producers in those counties may be eligible for low-interest emergency loans to assist producers in replacing essential property, purchase inputs like livestock, equipment, feed and seed, and cover family living expenses or refinance farm-related debts.

For those with risk protection through Federal Crop Insurance or FSA’s NAP, report crop damage to your crop insurance agent or FSA office. Producers should report crop damage to their agent within 72 hours of damage discovery and follow up in writing within 15 days if they have crop insurance.

A Notice of Loss (CCC-576) must be filed within 15 days of the loss becoming apparent, except for hand-harvested crops, which should be reported within 72 hours for NAP-covered crops.

Other recovery programs available can be sought through the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Environmental Quality Incentives Program.

To contact the writer email vmarshall@dodgeglobe.com