There is assistance currently available for farmers with losses from tornadoes as well as from other disasters, says Matthew Lohr, Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Farmers who suffered physical damages or poultry and/or livestock losses due to severe weather in late April may be eligible for government help.
A spate of tornadoes created havoc across the South on April 16. North Carolina suffered the greatest losses in those storms but Virginia and South Carolina were also affected. Two people were killed in Virginia on that day.
About 10 days later Virginia suffered from another wave of tornadoes that touched down in the state. The state was hit even harder by these tornadoes than by the April 16 storms, with eight more Virginians killed.
"I have spoken this week with farmers from different parts of Virginia who suffered significant losses because of the recent tornadoes and other severe weather events," Lohr says. "I encourage farmers with such losses to contact their local Farm Service Agency office about the availability of federal assistance programs. FSA has a variety of disaster assistance programs and each one offers different benefits. Farmers need to talk to the experts in these local offices to see which programs might benefit them."
Information on assistance programs is available in fact sheets on display at www.fsa.usda.gov. Visitors can click on "Newsroom", then on "Fact Sheets." Lohr notes that farmers may be particularly interested in the Emergency Farm Loan Program, the Livestock Indemnity Program and the Emergency Livestock Assistance program.
As a lifelong farmer, I know first-hand how devastating events like this can be," says Lohr. "In times like these that are already tough, I want to help our farmers take advantage of every resource out there to make as quick a recovery as possible."
The Livestock Indemnity Program was authorized by the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 to provide benefits to livestock producers for livestock deaths by weather. To be eligible in this program the losses must occur before Oct. 1, 2011 and are required to have taken place in the same calendar year for which benefits are requested. To be eligible for LIP, the producer must have legally owned the livestock on the day of their death.
Many different types of livestock are eligible for the program. For more details contact your local FSA headquarters.
The Emergency Loan Program is administered through the Farm Service Agency and provides emergency loans to help producers recover from production and physical losses due to drought, flooding and other natural disasters or quarantines.
Emergency loan funds obtained through the program may be used to restore or replace essential property, pay all or part of production costs associated with the disaster year, pay essential family living expenses, reorganize the farming operation and refinance certain debts. Again,find out more details at your local FSA office.
There is up to $50 million available for the calendar year through the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program. This program is available to eligible livestock producers, including honeybee producers and farm-raised fish producers that have losses due to disease, adverse weather or other conditions.
Losses in this program can either be a result of livestock death due to adverse weather or to livestock feed and grazing losses that are not due to drought or wildfires on federally managed lands.
Learn more about these and other disaster assistance programs at the Farm Service Agency website at http://www.fsa.usda.gov/FSA/webapp?area=home&subject=fmlp&topic=landing