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emergency assistance for livestock honeybees and farm raised fish program

USDA Helps Eastern North Carolina Recover after Matthew

When Hurricane Matthew hit last month, disaster struck as high flood waters devastated communities up and down the East Coast. Agricultural producers in Eastern North Carolina were hit especially hard and suffered devastating losses to crops, livestock, and property.

Secretary Vilsack recently designated 39 counties in North Carolina as primary natural disaster areas, in addition to 15 contiguous counties. This week, I traveled to the state to visit some of the communities that were affected. I saw a peanut farm littered with uprooted plants and cracked shells. I met with an organic tobacco producer whose top soil had completely washed away. I visited a sweet potato and soybean farm that suffered hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses. We drove by washed out roads and gutted homes with waterlogged furniture piled high on the side of the road.

The Spirit of Rural America: Farmers Show Strength in Tough Times

This is the final post of the weekly disaster assistance program feature series on the USDA blog.

For the past few weeks we’ve shared stories of how the farmers and ranchers across the country have been helped by disaster assistance programs restored by the 2014 Farm Bill. These USDA programs are helping thousands of producers and their families recover from natural disasters.

These amazing stories of strength and courage show the resilience of the men and women who feed and clothe more than 313 million Americans and billions of people worldwide. Despite uncontrollable setbacks caused by drought, snowstorms, tornadoes and other natural disasters, American farmers, ranchers and their children persevered beyond measure. I’m honored to be part of an agency that works for and with such amazing people.

Introducing A One-Stop Shop for the Farmers of Tomorrow

Growing up on a farm in Camilla, Ga., I developed a passion for agriculture early. Being a farmer’s daughter helped me understand the challenges farmers and ranchers face over time and the need for common-sense policies and programs to create and expand opportunities for the farmers of the future. Now, as the Deputy Secretary of the USDA, my highest priority is to ensure that beginning farmers and ranchers - women, young people, immigrants, socially disadvantaged producers, returning veterans and retirees - have access to the programs and support they need to succeed.

Today, we’re announcing a new resource:  This new website is a one-stop shop to connect new farmers and ranchers with USDA resources, programs and support.  On, new farmers can find information about accessing land and capital, managing risk, finding education, outreach and technical assistance, growing businesses and markets, and investing in the land and environment.

Honeybee Operation Gets Chance to Rebuild Following Disaster

This post is part of a disaster assistance program feature series on the USDA blog. Check back every Wednesday as we showcase stories and news from USDA’s Farm Service Agency.

Larry Loveless of Gillespie, Ill., works full-time at a factory by day, but spends his evenings and free time beekeeping.

The harsh winter of 2013 brought devastating losses to many livestock producers, including beekeepers. Loveless lost more than half of his colonies due to several days of sub-zero temperatures. He started with 20 colonies and was down to only seven by the end of the winter.

"I've lost a few colonies here and there, but I've never experienced this horrific of a loss," said Loveless, whose hives were already at a disadvantage because of last year's drought.

Bouncing Back from Destruction

This post is part of a disaster assistance program feature series on the USDA blog. Check back every Wednesday as we showcase stories and news from USDA’s Farm Service Agency.

When a tornado touched down in the rural southeast Missouri town of Puxico it sent some ranchers into survival mode.   David Smith, owner of Smith Farms was one of them.

“It was a tough setback, financially,” said Smith.

The tornado destroyed three grain bins and damaged two others, causing a loss of about 3,400 bushels of wheat and 4,000 bushels of corn used as feed for over 1,500 cattle. Within minutes Smith saw thousands of dollars blow away, along with fences, a hay barn, outbuildings and feeding equipment.

Starting from Scratch

This post is part of a disaster assistance program feature series on the USDA blog. Check back every Wednesday as we showcase stories and news from USDA’s Farm Service Agency.

Richard and Susan Rausch lost nearly 70 percent of their cow-calf operation when Winter Storm Atlas dumped three feet of snow on the western part of South Dakota, killing thousands of cattle across the region. The Rausch’s 300-head of cattle dwindled down to about 90.

“You just can't put into words what the devastation was like following the blizzard," said Richard. "The roads were closed from snow drifts, but once we were able to get out with the tractor, there was dead livestock wherever you went. Our neighbor's livestock was found dead in our yard and our cattle took cover in rough country at the start of the blizzard and they ended up drifting five to six miles away.”

Farm Service Agency - Honored to Serve America's Farmers and Ranchers

This post is part of a Microloan Success feature series on the USDA blog. Check back every Tuesday and Thursday as we showcase stories and news from USDA’s Farm Service Agency.

For the last few weeks we have shared stories about farmers and ranchers across the country that are benefitting from the Farm Service Agency (FSA) Microloan program. The stories highlighted new farmers starting out on their own, producers who follow a proud family tradition of working the land, and even one farmer who, at 92 years young, is finding new ways to keep growing — all with the help of the Microloan. The program allows beginning, small and mid-sized farmers to access up to $35,000 in loans using a simplified application process with up to seven years to repay.

Microloans are just one of many ways FSA is helping farmers and ranchers. We also offer Disaster Assistance. Producers around the country have suffered through two and a half difficult years with no disaster assistance because these programs were awaiting Congressional action. With the passing of the 2014 Farm Bill, eligible producers can sign up today to get help.

Secretary's Column: Disaster Assistance Sign Up for Farmers and Ranchers to Begin April 15

Over the past several years, livestock producers have suffered through long-term drought, blizzards and other extreme weather-related disasters. Without the surety of disaster assistance programs, severe weather has caused economic hardship for producers and many have struggled to survive.

Since the passage of the 2014 Farm Bill, which restored and strengthened disaster assistance programs, USDA has made quick implementation of these programs a top priority. I am pleased to say that thanks to the hard work of Farm Service Agency employees across the country to stand up these programs, farmers and ranchers can begin signing up for disaster assistance starting this Tuesday, April 15.

Reminder: The Deadline for Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments Applications is Approaching

Farmer and ranchers applying for assistance for 2009 crop losses under the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments (SURE) program have until July 29 to submit an application.

SURE provides crop disaster assistance to eligible producers that have suffered crop production or quality losses. Producers must have suffered at least a 10 percent loss on a crop of economic significance and obtained a policy or plan of insurance under the Federal Crop Insurance Act or the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program.