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USDA Assists Farmers, Communities Affected by Flooding
USAgNet - 03/22/2019

To help residents, farmers, and ranchers affected by the devastation caused by recent flooding, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has directed the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to aid people in their recovery efforts. USDA staff in the regional, state, and county offices are responding and providing a variety of program flexibilities and other assistance to residents, agricultural producers, and impacted communities at large.

"Recent flooding in the Midwest and along the Missouri and Mississippi River Valleys has caused devastating impacts across the region, and USDA has personnel and resources devoted to helping farmers and communities recover after this storm," Secretary Perdue said. "I encourage area farmers and ranchers to contact their local USDA Service Center so we can work with them to identify the resources and tools needed to reestablish their operations. While farmers and ranchers in the area are resilient, the pain is real. We will do everything in our power at USDA to be as helpful as we possibly can."

On Thursday, President Trump declared that a major disaster exists in the Nebraska counties of Butler, Cass, Colfax, Dodge, Douglas, Nemaha, Sarpy, Saunders, and Washington.

When major disasters strike, USDA has an emergency loan program that provides eligible farmers low-interest loans to help them recover from production and physical losses. USDA also offers additional programs tailored to the needs of specific agricultural sectors to help producers weather the financial impacts of major disasters and rebuild their operations.

Livestock owners and contract growers who experience above normal livestock deaths due to specific weather events, as well as to disease or animal attacks, may qualify for assistance under USDA's Livestock Indemnity Program. Producers who suffer losses to or are prevented from planting agricultural commodities not covered by federal crop insurance may be eligible for assistance under USDA's Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program if the losses were due to natural disasters.

USDA's Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program provides payments to these producers to help compensate for losses due to disease (including cattle tick fever), and adverse weather or other conditions, such as blizzards and wildfires, that are not covered by certain other disaster programs.

USDA provides financial resources through its Environmental Quality Incentives Program for immediate needs and long-term support to help recover from natural disasters and conserve water resources.

Orchardists and nursery tree growers in the affected area may be eligible for assistance through USDA's Tree Assistance Program to help replant or rehabilitate eligible trees, bushes, and vines damaged by natural disasters.

USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has information about protecting livestock on its Protecting Livestock During a Disaster page. Additionally, the agency is helping to meet the emergency needs of pets and their owners, as inspectors are coordinating closely with zoos, breeders, and other licensed facilities in the region to ensure the safety of animals in their care.

As residents make it back into their homes, USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is helping ensure they are taking the proper steps to reduce the risk of foodborne illness. Food safety tips after a power outage and flooding are available on the FSIS website.

USDA encourages those whose homes flooded during the storm to take steps to protect the safety of their food.

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