WASHINGTON, September 27, 2021 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has directed the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to help restoration efforts for farmers, ranchers and residents affected by Hurricane Ida. USDA workers in workplaces throughout the nation are prepared to reply with a wide range of program flexibilities and different help to producers and communities in want.
“Hurricane Ida minimize a $50 billion path of destruction from the Gulf coast to New England, destroying farms, properties, communities and companies and taking lives alongside the best way,” stated Vilsack. “USDA workers are on the bottom within the hardest hit areas and are prepared to assist communities and agricultural operations rebuild nonetheless we will.”
Food security steerage:
USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) helps affected residents take steps to scale back their danger of foodborne sickness as they return to their properties after extreme climate and flooding.
- Drink solely bottled water that has not been in touch with flood water. Screw caps usually are not waterproof, so discard any bottled water that will have are available in contact with flood water. If you don’t have bottled water, discover ways to safely boil or disinfect water at FSIS Consumer’s Guide to Food Safety: Severe Storms and Hurricanes webpage.
- Discard any meals or beverage that’s not in a water-resistant container if there may be any probability it could have been in touch with flood water. Containers with screw caps, snap lids, pull tops and crimped caps usually are not waterproof.
- Undamaged, commercially ready meals in all-metal cans and retort pouches equivalent to versatile, shelf-stable juice or seafood pouches, might be saved by following the steps on the FSIS Consumer’s Guide to Food Safety: Severe Storms and Hurricanes webpage.
- Thoroughly wash all steel pans, utensils and ceramic dishes that got here in touch with flood water with scorching soapy water. Rinse, then sanitize, by boiling them in clear water or by immersing them for quarter-hour in an answer of certainly one of tablespoon unscented, liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of consuming water.
- Discard picket slicing boards, plastic utensils, child bottle nipples and pacifiers that will have are available in contact with flood water – they can’t be saved after contact with flood water.
Risk administration and catastrophe help for agricultural operations:
USDA gives a number of danger administration and catastrophe help choices to assist producers recuperate after disasters.
This contains instruments for producers to handle their danger by way of the Federal Crop Insurance Program, a public-private partnership between USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) and personal corporations and brokers. Already, producers in sure parishes and counties with protection below Hurricane Insurance Protection – Wind Index (HIP-WI) will obtain $27 million in indemnity funds within the coming weeks. This is along with protection supplied by way of underlying insurance policies, which will probably be processed within the coming months as claims are submitted and processed.
Additionally, in sure Louisiana parishes the place HIP-WI triggered, RMA has supplied flexibilities to supply further time after the September 30 gross sales cut-off date for producers to make protection changes in hardest hit parishes. Producers in these parishes will now have till October 29 to regulate protection ranges.
Producers who are suffering losses and are signed up for Federal Crop Insurance or Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) are requested to report crop harm to their crop insurance coverage agent or native FSA workplace, respectively, inside 72 hours of discovering harm and observe up in writing inside 15 days.
Producers can acquire NAP protection for the subsequent crop 12 months by way of their native USDA Service Center, and traditionally underserved producers are capable of enroll in primary NAP protection at no cost.
Livestock and perennial crop producers typically have extra restricted danger administration choices accessible, so there are a number of catastrophe applications for them. Key applications provided by USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) embody:
- The Livestock Indemnity Program and the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybee and Farm-raised Fish Program reimburses producers for a portion of the worth of livestock, poultry and different animals that had been killed or severely injured by a pure catastrophe or lack of feed and grazing acres.
- The Tree Assistance Program offers value share help to rehabilitate or replant orchards and vineyards when storms kill or harm the timber, vines or bushes. NAP or Federal Crop Insurance typically solely covers the crop and never the plant.
- The Emergency Conservation Program and Emergency Forest Restoration Program can help landowners and forest stewards with monetary and technical help to revive broken farmland or forests.
It can also be vital that producers preserve correct information to doc harm or loss and to report losses to their native USDA Service Center as quickly as attainable.
Additionally, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) can present monetary assets by way of its Environmental Quality Incentives Program to assist with instant wants and long-term help to assist recuperate from pure disasters and preserve water assets.
On farmers.gov, the Disaster Assistance Discovery Tool, Disaster-at-a-Glance reality sheet (PDF, 4.6 MB) and Farm Loan Discovery Tool may also help producers and landowners decide program or mortgage choices. For help with a crop insurance coverage declare, producers and landowners ought to contact their crop insurance coverage agent. For FSA and NRCS applications, they need to contact their native USDA Service Center.
Assistance for communities:
USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) additionally wasted no time to supply help to states affected by this storm. Some of the actions taken embody:
- Approving Disaster SNAP (D-SNAP) in affected elements of Louisiana and Tennessee.
- A Disaster Household Distribution (DHD) Program which supplied meals packages to 800,000 affected people within the state of Louisiana.
- Temporarily permitting SNAP recipients to buy scorching meals objects (usually not allowed with this system) in areas affected by Ida within the states of Louisiana, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, and Tennessee.
- Mass substitute of SNAP advantages in affected areas of Louisiana.
- Approving a waiver giving Alabama, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee the choice to permit SNAP members extra time to report misplaced meals, if they don’t seem to be in an space the place everyone seems to be getting their advantages changed.
- Providing further administrative flexibilities as states work to help people and households in affected areas.
USDA can also be helping native authorities sponsors with the price of restoration efforts like particles removing and streambank stabilization to deal with pure useful resource considerations and hazards by way of the Emergency Watershed Protection Program. Eligible sponsors embody cities, counties, cities, or any federally acknowledged Native American tribe or tribal group. Sponsors should submit a proper request (through mail or e mail) to the state conservationist for help inside 60 days of the pure catastrophe prevalence or 60 days from the date when entry to the websites grow to be accessible. For extra data, contact the NRCS workplace on the native USDA Service Center.
Communities and producers affected by Hurricane Ida are additionally inspired to hunt restoration data from their native Cooperative Extension workplaces. More data can also be accessible by way of the Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN), supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans every day in so many constructive methods. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is remodeling America’s meals system with a higher give attention to extra resilient native and regional meals manufacturing, fairer markets for all producers, guaranteeing entry to secure, wholesome and nutritious meals in all communities, constructing new markets and streams of revenue for farmers and producers utilizing local weather good meals and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clear vitality capabilities in rural America, and committing to fairness throughout the Department by eradicating systemic obstacles and constructing a workforce extra consultant of America. To be taught extra, go to www.usda.gov.
USDA is an equal alternative supplier, employer, and lender.