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livestock indemnity 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.

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.

We Can't Wait

Farmers and ranchers know many variables are sometimes not in their hands, especially when it comes to weather.  That’s why USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Senator Tim Johnson asked me to travel to South Dakota this week to see firsthand the widespread destruction to livestock in the wake of the Atlas Blizzard, and to consult with affected producers on how USDA can help right now - - despite two years of Congressional inaction on the Food, Farm and Jobs Bill.

When I joined one farmer in his living room, learning how his livestock losses, including pregnant stock, meant years of income gone, I thought of Congress, how it lurches from one crisis to the next, and how that legislative atrophy creates real consequences beyond just American farmers but for entire rural communities.

FSA Administrator Reassures Drought-Stricken Producers in Texas

Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Bruce Nelson traveled to South Texas last week in the midst of the historic drought impacting most of Texas and the Southwest and adversely affecting thousands of agricultural producers. Nelson took the opportunity to visit with area farmers, ranchers and agribusiness representatives who are working hard to keep their operations going in the face of the natural disaster. He made a point to reassure everyone that Secretary Vilsack and the USDA are committed to helping affected producers.

A USDA Acting Deputy Under Secretary Meets with Those Affected by Midwest Flooding

On the heels of Secretary Vilsack’s visit to the Midwest last week to inspect Missouri River flood damage to area farms and communities, Farm and Foreign Service (FFAS) Acting Deputy Under Secretary Karis Gutter stopped by Mounds City, Missouri and Hamburg, Iowa to hear from local producers, and to see for himself the devastating effects of the flooding.