USDA Offers Help to Fire-Affected Farmers and Ranchers in Texas
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) acting State Executive Director in Texas, Erasmo (Eddie) Trevino, reminds farmers and ranchers affected by the recent wildfires that disaster assistance programs are available to support their recovery efforts.
The Farm Service Agency (FSA) can assist farmers and ranchers who lost livestock, grazing land, fences or eligible trees, bushes and vines as a result of a natural disaster. FSA administers a suite of safety-net programs to help producers recover from eligible losses, including the Livestock Indemnity Program, the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program, and the Tree Assistance Program. Detailed information on all of these disaster assistance programs can be found online at www.fsa.usda.gov/disaster.
In addition, the FSA Emergency Conservation Program provides funding and technical assistance for farmers and ranchers to rehabilitate farmland damaged by natural disasters. Producers located in counties that receive a primary or contiguous disaster designation are eligible for low-interest emergency loans to help them recover from production and physical losses. Compensation is also available to producers who purchased coverage through the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program, which protects non-insurable crops (including native grass for grazing) against natural disasters that result in lower yields, crop losses or prevented planting.
“Recent wildfires have caused devastating losses for many farmers and ranchers in our state,” said Trevino. “Over the past several years, wildfires have increased in severity, intensity, and cost as the fire season has grown longer. Natural disasters such as wildfires are unavoidable, but USDA has strong safety-net programs to help producers get back on their feet.”
For more FSA disaster assistance program information, please contact your local USDA Service Center. To find your local USDA Service Center go to http://offices.usda.gov.
The Farm Service Agency is rural America’s engine for economic growth, job creation and development, offering local, personal service to millions of rural producers. In 2016, FSA invested $22 billion in agricultural infrastructure, supporting nearly 225,000 jobs nationwide. This included 40,000 direct and guaranteed operating loans; along with critical support for hundreds of thousands of producers experiencing livestock and forage losses caused by floods, drought and other disasters. FSA provides financial protection to half the nation’s dairies, safe storage to producers, inspects over 3,000 licensed public warehouses, provides food assistance valued at $667 million and partners with states and organizations to support production of American-made renewable fuel. Additionally, through the Conservation Reserve Program, the agency encourages conservation of sensitive lands and works with nonprofit agencies to enhance wildlife through habitat improvement.