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Thursday, September 22, 2011

USDA To Provide Hurricane Irene Assistance

You might remember hearing from our USDA guest blogger, Kevin, this summer. If not you can visit his last post here. Kevin is here again to inform us about what the USDA has a role in during times of natural disasters. The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) executes federal policy for all things dealing with farming, agriculture and our food! Enjoy Kevin's post.

While Hurricane Irene hasn’t been as destructive as Katrina was, it still has left the East coast in shambles.  The storm is estimated to have caused $10 to $15 billion in damage, and footage of the affected areas quickly explains why.  Since many of the affected states haven’t encountered a hurricane in over 100 years, many were unprepared for this disaster. 

Crops were washed away, pastures flooded, and homes were destroyed by Irene - not to mention the equipment, livestock, and everything else to go along with them.  Hope is not lost, however, for the farms, ranches, and rural communities in the Northeast.  The USDA has recently indicated that it will be providing assistance to those in Presidentially deemed disaster areas.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to all who have suffered losses caused by this massive storm,” said Agriculture Secretary, Tom Vilsack. “USDA is ready to provide food, emergency assistance and other resources to the affected areas. We continue to closely coordinate with many partners to meet the immediate and plan for the long-term needs of those affected by Hurricane Irene.”
The USDA is offering a wide variety of assistance to farmers and ranchers alike, and is beginning to distribute such aids. If your farm or ranch was damaged or destroyed during Hurricane Irene and the flooding that occurred afterward, you may just be eligible for assistance.  Types of aid that you may be able to secure include:

  • Community Assistance
  • Farmer and Rancher Assistance
  • Housing Assistance
  • Food Assistance
  • Business Assistance
  • Utility Assistance

If you have questions about any assistance that you may be eligible, call your local Rural Development office if your needs relate to housing, your business, or your community.  Homeowners can also contact a USDA loan specialist to determine their eligibility.  For reports of produce and livestock loss, contact your local USDA Farm Service Agency Service Center as they will be able to help you find the appropriate reparations.  If you have debris that you wish to be removed from your property that was brought on by Hurricane Irene, call your local Natural Resources Conservation Service office.

Kevin Pearia

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