USDA Provides Disaster Assistance to Growers
Most of the country faced unusually cold weather, as a winter storm moved from coast to coast. Winter storms create significant challenges and often result in catastrophic losses for agricultural producers, especially those who raise livestock, row crops and vulnerable crops like citrus.
Despite all attempts to mitigate risk, farms and ranches can suffer losses. The USDA offers several programs to help with recovery.
For producers who are protected against risk through federal crop insurance or the Uninsured Agricultural Disaster Assistance Program (NAP), report crop damage to your insurance agent- harvest or at the local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office.
The USDA also offers disaster assistance programs, which are especially important to producers of livestock, fruits and vegetables, specialties, and perennial crops who have fewer risk management options.
First, the Livestock Compensation Program (PIL) and the Livestock, Bee and Fish Emergency Assistance Program (ELAP) reimburse producers for a portion of the value of livestock, poultry. and other animals that have died as a result of an eligible natural disaster. event – like those winter storms – or for the loss of acres of pasture, feed and fodder.
For LIP and ELAP, producers will be required to file a loss notice for livestock and pasture or feed losses within 30 days and bee losses within 15 days.
It is essential to keep accurate records to document all losses as a result of this devastating cold weather event. Cattle ranchers are advised to document the number of head of cattle by taking videos or time-stamped photos before after loss.
Other common documentation options include: Purchase records; production records; vaccination records; bank or other loan documents; third party certification.
While we never want to have to implement disaster programs, we’re here to help. To file a notice of loss or to ask questions about available programs, contact your local USDA service center. All USDA service centers are open for business, including those that limit in-person visits or require appointments due to the pandemic.
Brown County FSA News Update
Gaylynn Covey is the new County Executive Director for the Brown County FSA office. She comes to Brown County with several years of FSA experience.
Gaylynn looks forward to working with Brown County growers and will hopefully start meeting with them as soon as time permits. Right now the office is still closed to the public, but we are still working to get everyone to take care of everything and we will meet you outside to sign your documents or we can email the forms to you.
March 15 – ARC / PLC This involves making choices and completing registration for 2021 agricultural risk coverage and price loss coverage programs.
For more information on this program, producers can call the FSA office at 325 / 643-2573 or go to https://www.farmers.gov/arc-plc
Also, with the freeze we had Feb 10-19 – producers who have lost livestock should contact the FSA office and report this loss for the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP). You will need to have your inventory, photos of the dead cattle with a date stamp and a third party verification statement. This can be from a veterinarian or a neighbor, but cannot be an employee or a family member. This must be reported within 30 days of the incident.
Tinted diesel temporarily approved for use on Texas roads
State restrictions on the use of dyed diesel as vehicle fuel on Texas roads were lifted on February 19 as Texans work to recover from last week’s winter storm.
Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar and Governor Greg Abbott also announced the suspension of the state fuel tax on dyed diesel.
The comptroller’s office has obtained a temporary waiver from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to waive penalties and help pave the way for the use of off-road diesel fuel by on-road vehicles in all 254 counties to ensure the availability of reliable fuel sources for disaster relief.
Abbott also issued a disaster declaration last week in response to inclement weather in Texas and has requested a disaster designation from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
President Joe Biden has declared a disaster in 108 Texas counties.
The President’s Action makes federal funding available to affected people in counties: Anderson, Angelina, Aransas, Austin, Bastrop, Bee, Bell, Bexar, Blanco, Bosque, Bowie, Brazoria, Brazos, Brown, Burleson, Burnet, Caldwell, Calhoun, Cameron, Chambers, Cherokee, Collin, Colorado, Comal, Comanche, Cooke, Coryell, Dallas, Denton, DeWitt, Ellis, Erath, Falls, Fannin, Fort Bend, Freestone, Galveston, Gillespie, Gonzales, Grayson , Gregg, Grimes, Guadalupe, Hardin, Harris, Harrison, Hays, Henderson, Hidalgo, Hill, Hood, Houston, Hunt, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Jim Wells, Johnson, Jones, Kaufman, Kendall, Lavaca, Liberty, Limestone, Lubbock, Madison, Matagorda, Maverick, McLennan, Medina, Milam, Montague, Montgomery, Nacogdoches, Navarro, Nueces, Orange, Palo Pinto, Panola, Parker, Polk, Rockwall, Rusk, Sabine, San Jacinto, San Patricio, Scurry, Shelby , Smith, Stephens, Tarrant, Taylor, Travis, Tom Green, Tyler, Upshur, Val Verde, Van Zandt, Victoria, Walker, Wa ller, Washingto n, Wharton, Wichita, Williamson, Wilson, Wise and Wood.
This designation makes federal assistance, such as emergency loans, available to farmers and ranchers who have suffered losses in designated counties, as well as in counties contiguous to a designated county.
Texas Farm Bureau staff have been in touch with Abbott’s office, describing the needs and concerns of farmers, ranchers and rural Texans.
For more information on USDA disaster programs and assistance following the severe winter storm, visit https://texasfarmbureau.org/winter-storm-resources.