Farm Service Agency offers options for disaster assistance

Published 6:28 pm Friday, October 21, 2016


Farmers in Beaufort, Hyde, Martin and Washington counties — among other eligible counties — may apply for federal disaster assistance, including Farm Service Agency loans, in the wake of Hurricane Matthew.

Leigh Hester, director of the Beaufort-Hyde FSA office in Washington, said family farmers in Beaufort and Hyde counties may apply for disaster aid through that office, which serves the two counties. Hester said any farmer who suffered physical and production losses should contact their local FSA office.

The Washington FSA office is located at 155 B Airport Road. It’s open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Attempts to find out how many farmers in Beaufort and Hyde counties have applied for assistance were unsuccessful Friday.

Beaufort County is one of 10 primary disaster counties. Hyde, Martin and Washington counties are among 22 contiguous counties also eligible for disaster assistance.

FSA, a federal agency, also offers low-interest loans to assist in recovery efforts in the aftermath of qualifying natural disasters.

At least eight aid programs are offered by FSA, including help with crop loss, livestock loss and tree loss. Emergency assistance is available for honeybee operations and fish farms

FSA offers disaster assistance and low-interest loan programs to assist agricultural producers in their recovery efforts following qualifying natural disasters. Available programs and loans include:

  • Non-Insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program provides financial assistance to producers of non-insurable crops when low yields, loss of inventory, or prevented planting occur due to natural disasters (includes native grass for grazing). Eligible producers must have purchased NAP coverage for 2016 crops.
  • Livestock Indemnity Program offers payments to eligible producers for livestock death losses in excess of normal mortality due to adverse weather. Eligible losses may include those determined by FSA to have been caused by hurricanes, floods, blizzards, wildfires, tropical storms, tornados lightening, extreme heat and extreme cold. Producers will be required to provide verifiable documentation of death losses resulting from an eligible adverse weather event and must submit a notice of loss to their local FSA office within 30 calendar days of when the loss of livestock is apparent.
  • Tree Assistance Program provides assistance to eligible orchardists and nursery tree growers for qualifying tree, shrub and vine losses due to natural disaster.
  • Emergency Forest Restoration Program — The objective of EFRP is to restore non-industrial private forestland (NIPF) damaged by natural disasters. Cost-share assistance is provided to owners of NIPF that has been damaged by a natural disaster such as Hurricane Matthew.
  • Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program provides emergency relief for losses due to feed or water shortages, disease, adverse weather or other conditions that are not adequately addressed by other disaster programs. ELAP covers physically damaged or destroyed livestock feed that was purchased or mechanically harvested forage or feedstuffs intended for use as feed for the producer’s eligible livestock. In order to be considered eligible, harvested forage must be baled; forage that is only cut, raked or windrowed is not eligible. Producers must submit a notice of loss to their local FSA office within 30 calendar days of when the loss is apparent.

ELAP also covers up to 150 lost grazing days in instances when a producer has been forced to remove livestock from a grazing pasture due to floodwaters.

For beekeepers, ELAP covers beehive losses (the physical structure) in instances where the hive has been destroyed by a natural disaster including flooding, high winds and tornadoes.

  • Emergency Loan Program is available to producers with agriculture operations located in a county under a primary or contiguous secretarial disaster designation. These low interest loans help producers recover from production and physical losses due to drought, flooding.
  • Emergency Conservation Program provides emergency funding for farmers and livestock producers to rehabilitate land severely damaged by natural disasters; includes fence loss.

HayNet is an Internet-based hay and grazing net aid service allowing farmers and livestock producers to share ‘Need Hay’ ads and ‘Have Hay’ ads online. Farmers also can use another feature to post advertisements for grazing land, specifically ads announcing the availability of grazing land or ads requesting a need for land to graze.

For details on the FSA disaster assistance programs, visit or call the FSA office in Washington at 946-1076. June 10, 2017, is the deadline to apply for FSA assistance, according to a news release.

Assistance for eligible farmers is allowed under Section 321(a) of the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act.


About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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