News Blog

Moving Ahead After the Storms

We at Southern SAWG are heartbroken for the losses that our fellow Southern farmers have suffered this hurricane season. While sustainable agriculture is a more resilient agriculture, disasters like these are still devastating to farms and families. For those in the process of rebuilding, we offer a list of resources for immediate assistance, and an opportunity to attend the 2018 Southern SAWG conference without paying a registration fee.

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Fee Waivers for the 2018 Southern SAWG Conference

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Southern SAWG invites farmers who have been significantly impacted by the hurricanes to join us for our January 2018 Conference in Chattanooga, Tenn. This will be a chance to network with fellow farmers, lift your spirits, and continue your farming education. To ease the cost of participation, we’ve set aside a number of additional fee waivers for these farmers. Email feewaivers@ssawg.org for details.

Resources for Farms Hit by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria

The following information is provided to help connect you with those focused on providing resources, financial support, and direct services to farmers impacted by the most recent storms. The primary organizations referenced for this information are the USDA, Farm Aid, RAFI-USA and Farmer’s Legal Action Group (FLAG) with additional information from other relevant groups. We also encourage individuals to review non-farm resources from FEMA and the US Disaster Assistance website.

• Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands

With the current widespread devastation on Puerto Rico and its resulting loss of essential services, it is expected that the recovery support for all individuals and businesses will be delayed significantly. Agencies providing general relief are included here: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/can-help-hurricane-victims-puerto-rico/

Farm-Aid is partnering with agencies in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands to provide direct support to farmers. For more information on receiving farm recovery aid, follow the instructions found at www.farmaid.org/disaster

• Texas and Louisiana

From the Farm-Aid website: “Farm Aid has partnered with local and national organizations, including Texas Organic Farmers & Ranchers Association, Texas Center for Local Food, Sustainable Food Center, Urban Harvest, Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance, National Center for Appropriate Technology, Farmers’ Legal Action Group, Federation of Southern Cooperatives, Louisiana Interchurch Conference, GROW Local South Texas and Rural Advancement Foundation International-USA to:

  • Make emergency grants to farm and ranch families in Texas and Louisiana impacted by Hurricane Harvey;

  • Help farmers and ranchers understand their farm recovery options;

  • Support local and state farmer service providers to help farmers navigate farm recovery options, from mental health resources to federal funding opportunities;

  • Advocate for needed disaster recovery funds and resources from the federal government.

For more information on receiving farm recovery aid, follow the instructions found at www.farmaid.org/disaster

The Texas Department of Agriculture is managing a privately funded pool of resources for matching grants up to $4,000 for fencing, livestock, feed, seed, labor and other financial demands of farmers responding to the flood. They can be reached by visiting this page or by calling 512-463-9932.

Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Foundation has created The Cattle Raisers Relief Fund (CRRF): http://tscra.org/relieffund

• Florida

General Info: http://www.floridafarmbureau.org/news/hurricane-irma-aftermath-resources/

Recovery Fund: http://www.floridafarmbureau.org/hurricane-irma-relief-fund/

Florida Cattleman’s Fund is also taking donations to support the recovery: http://www.floridacattlemen.org/foundation/

State of Emergency Announcement: http://www.flgov.com/wp-content/uploads/orders/2017/EO_17-235.pdf

• Gulf Coast States

Farm Aid is partnering with agencies in multiple states along the Gulf Coast to provide direct support to farmers. For more information on receiving farm recovery aid, follow the instructions found at www.farmaid.org/disaster

Alabama Cattlemen’s Association Relief Fund: https://www.bamabeef.org/p.aspx?pID=about/hurricanerelief&

The American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) Foundation Equine Disaster Relief Fund is accepting aid to help horses in Texas, Louisiana and other states affected by Hurricane Harvey. https://aaep.org/news/aaep-foundation-disaster-relief-fund-accepting-donations-assist-horses-affected-hurricane

General Disaster Relief Information

General overview of all recovery resources at RAFI USA: http://rafiusa.org/programs/farmsustainability/disaster-programs/disaster-recovery-resources/

FLAG guide for disaster loss: http://www.flaginc.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/DISASTER-What-Help-Is-Available-for-What-Types-of-Disaster-Losses-10-29-2013.pdf

USDA Disaster Relief Resources at a glance: https://www.fsa.usda.gov/Assets/USDA-FSA-Public/usdafiles/FactSheets/2017/fsa_disaster_assistance_programs_at_a_glance_march2017.pdf

FSA Disaster Programs by Loss Type: https://www.fsa.usda.gov/Internet/FSA_File/disasterfsaprograms.pdf

USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), is authorizing emergency procedures on a case-by-case basis to assist impacted borrowers, livestock owners, contract growers, and other producers. The measures announced today apply only to counties impacted by a NOAA determined tropical storm, typhoon, or hurricane, including Harvey and Irma that have received a primary Presidential Disaster Declaration and those counties contiguous to such designated counties. Financially stressed FSA farm loan borrowers affected by the hurricanes who have received primary loan servicing applications may be eligible for 60 day extensions. Full details are available at https://go.usa.gov/xRe8V. A more complete listing of all of the special farm program provisions is posted at https://go.usa.gov/xRe8p.

FLAG guide to unemployment assistance after disasters: http://www.flaginc.org/publication/farmer-eligibility-disaster-unemployment-assistance/

Please share this article with anyone who might need the information provided and support the organizations that are doing this work. Together we can restore our region’s farms and revive our region’s farmers.