USDA Offers Disaster Assistance to Farmers and Livestock Producers in Louisiana Impacted by Hurricane Ida
ALEXANDRIA, La., Sept. 30, 2021 — Louisiana agricultural operations have been significantly impacted by Hurricane Ida and related weather events. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has technical and financial assistance available to help farmers and livestock producers recover. Additionally, agricultural producers in certain Louisiana parishes will have an additional time after the Sept. 30 sales closing date for producers to make coverage adjustments in hardest hit parishes.
“Production agriculture is vital to the Louisiana economy, and USDA stands ready to assist in the recovery from Hurricane Ida,” said Gloria Montaño Greene, Deputy Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation (FPAC). “I assure you that USDA employees are working diligently to deliver FPAC’s extensive portfolio of disaster assistance programs and services to all impacted agricultural producers and identify opportunities for program flexibilities, including more time for producers in hardest hit parishes to adjust crop insurance levels.”
Producers in certain parishes will now have until Oct. 29 to adjust crop insurance coverage levels.
The flexibilities are available in these parishes: Ascension, Assumption, Avoyelles, Concordia, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Iberia, Iberville, Jefferson, Lafayette, Lafourche, Livingston, Orleans, Plaquemines, Pointe Coupee, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. Helena, St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Landry, St. Martin, St. Mary, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Terrebonne, Vermillion, Washington, West Baton Rouge and West Feliciana. Learn more about these flexibilities.
Producers with coverage under Hurricane Insurance Protection – Wind Index (HIP-WI) will receive $27 million in indemnity payments in the coming weeks. This is in addition to coverage provided through underlying policies, which will be processed in the coming months as claims are submitted and processed.
Producers who have risk protection through Risk Management Agency’s (RMA) Federal Crop Insurance or Farm Service Agency’s (FSA) Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) should report crop damage to their crop insurance agent or FSA office. If they have crop insurance, producers should report crop damage to their agent within 72 hours of damage discovery and follow up in writing within 15 days. For NAP covered crops, 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.
“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 Roddric Bell, director of RMA’s Regional Office that covers Louisiana. “The Approved Insurance Providers, loss adjusters and agents are experienced and well trained in handling these types of events.”
Additional USDA Disaster Assistance
Producers who experience livestock deaths may be eligible for the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP).
Meanwhile, for hurricane recovery, the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) provides eligible producers with compensation for feed and grazing losses. For ELAP, producers will need to file a notice of loss within 30 days and honeybee losses within 15 days.
Additionally, eligible orchardists and nursery tree growers may be eligible for cost-share assistance through the Tree Assistance Program (TAP) to replant or rehabilitate eligible trees, bushes or vines lost. This complements NAP or crop insurance coverage, which covers the crop but not the plants or trees in all cases. For TAP, a program application must be filed within 90 days.
“Once you are able to safely evaluate the impact on your operation, be sure to contact your local FSA office to timely report all crop, livestock and farm infrastructure damages and losses,” said Christine Normand, Acting State Executive Director for the Farm Service Agency (FSA) in Louisiana. “To expedite FSA disaster assistance, you will likely need to provide documents, such as farm records, herd inventory, receipts and pictures of damages or losses.”
FSA also offers a variety of direct and guaranteed farm loans, including operating and emergency farm loans, to producers unable to secure commercial financing. Producers in counties with a primary or contiguous disaster designation may be eligible for low-interest emergency loans to help them recover from production and physical losses. Loans can help producers replace essential property, purchase inputs like livestock, equipment, feed and seed, cover family living expenses or refinance farm-related debts and other needs.
FSA’s Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) and Emergency Forest Restoration Program (EFRP) can assist landowners and forest stewards with financial and technical assistance to restore fencing, damaged farmland or forests.
USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is always available to provide technical assistance in the recovery process by assisting producers to plan and implement conservation practices on farms, ranches and working forests impacted by natural disasters. The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) can help producers plan and implement conservation practices on land impacted by natural disasters.
“NRCS can be a very valuable partner to help landowners with their recovery efforts,” said Chad Kacir, state conservationist for the NRCS in Louisiana. “Our staff will work one-on-one with landowners to make assessments of the damages and develop approaches that focus on effective recovery of the land.”
Assistance for Communities
Additional NRCS programs include the Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) program, which provides assistance to local government sponsors with the cost of addressing watershed impairments or hazards such as debris removal and streambank stabilization.
Eligible sponsors include cities, counties, towns, or any federally recognized Native American tribe or tribal organization. Sponsors must submit a formal request (via mail or email) to the state conservationist for assistance within 60 days of the natural disaster occurrence or 60 days from the date when access to the sites become available. For more information, producers should contact their local NRCS office.
“EWP provides immediate assistance to communities to mitigate potential hazards to life and property resulting from disasters and particularly the severe erosion and flooding that can occur following hurricanes,” Kacir said. “We can work with a local sponsor to help a damaged watershed so that lives and property are protected while preventing further devastation in the community.”
On farmers.gov, the Disaster Assistance Discovery Tool, Disaster Assistance-at-a-Glance fact sheet, and Farm Loan Discovery Tool can help producers and landowners determine program or loan options. For assistance with a crop insurance claim, producers and landowners should contact their crop insurance agent. For FSA and NRCS programs, they should contact their local USDA Service Center.
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