Disaster Relief for Farmers

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November has arrived, and with it comes the new time change, cooler weather (hopefully), and reminders of all we have to be thankful for, even in storm recovery. It is no secret that many of our friends and neighbors are still in recovery from Hurricane Matthew, and now it continues with the aftermath of Hurricane Florence. Agriculture in Robeson County, as well as in many of our surrounding counties, has suffered another huge blow.

Initial estimates for losses to North Carolina’s agricultural industry from livestock and crop damage are estimated at $1.1 billion and expected to grow. More than half of the state’s 100 counties have received a Presidential-disaster declaration. Robeson County is one of those counties.

The North Carolina General Assembly directed the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to establish a Hurricane Florence Disaster Recovery plan in Session Law 2018-136, and as a result, NCDA&CS has announced the Hurricane Florence Agricultural Disaster Program of 2018. Assistance will be dependent upon funding from the General Assembly.

According to Steve Troxler, Agriculture Commissioner, “Hurricane Florence was a catastrophe that hit agriculture at a time when historically high debt, previous disasters, and chronic low commodity prices have already created a dim outlook for farmers.” He goes on to say, “Because of this storm, many areas of North Carolina’s Ag economy have run out of gas, and we need to get the engine started again in rural N.C. I am concerned that some of our farmers will choose not to return to the fields next year, and we are going to do all that we can to encourage them to do so. If funded by the N.C. General Assembly, this program will provide much-needed cash flow to maintain agriculture and its multiplier effect for rural economies.”

Those eligible for the assistance through this program are farmers located in a N.C. county that is, or becomes, a Presidentially-Declared or Secretarial-Declared or a Presidential FEMA declared disaster county, and who experienced a verifiable crop or livestock loss because of Hurricane/Tropical Storm Florence and its remnants.  Eligible loss is considered commodities planted on or before September 13, 2018, (but not harvested), or aquaculture being raised on or before September 13, 2018, as well as livestock/poultry producers who qualify for and have received payment from the USDA Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP).

The NCDA&CS will administer the program, and North Carolina Cooperative Extension has been asked to assist growers with the online application process. The sign-up period began Wednesday, November 7, and will end on Monday, December 10, 2018.

Required information for creating the application includes:

  • A Form 578 on file with the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) for USDA reported crops.
  • For crops not reported on FSA Form 578, a summary of loss with map and physical address of crops. This information may be obtained from your local county FSA office.
  • For livestock/poultry loss, a copy of payment or registration of loss for USDA LIP. This information may be obtained from your local county FSA office.
  • Completed W-9 for producer SSN/EIN.

To speak with a N.C. Cooperative Extension, Robeson County Center, Agent for assistance with your application, or to make an appointment, please call our office at 910-671-3276, Monday through Friday, from 8:15 a.m. – 5:15 p.m. For more information, visit our website, the Hurricane Florence Agricultural Disaster Program of 2018, or call 1-866-645-9403.

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