The U.S. Department of Agriculture reminded growers of current and new federal assistance this week for producers impacted by floods and facing financial risk.
California continues to be inundated with surface water, both runoff from snow melt and extended precipitation. USDA reminded California growers that both technical and financial help is available through federal disaster assistance. Producers with flooding damage are heavily encouraged to document the damage with pictures, receipts and farm records. Any of those items will help expedite assistance, said Farm Service Agency’s California Executive Director Blong Xiong in a press release.
The Almond Alliance is helping almond growers with the process. The Almond Alliance has created a Storm Damage Reporting & Resource page to help producers take advantage of programs that were triggered under the Presidential Disaster Declaration. The Almond Alliance reminds growers to document and notify damage to the proper agencies. “A simple phone call can make the difference between resources available and being left out. Timely notice of loss reported to your local FSA office is critical to ensuring adequate resources and assistance is deployed to your area, as well as your ability to participate in potential future programs,” said Aubrey Bettencourt, Almond Alliance president and CEO.
Also this week, USDA announced additional assistance for producers with qualifying farm loans who are facing financial risk. The extra $123 million funding will begin in April and is made possible through the Inflation Reduction Act. Loans that qualify for the assistance are “borrowers of direct or guaranteed loans administered by USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) whose operations face financial risk.”
USDA offered an example of qualifying loans in a press release, stating “in the October payments, farmers that were 60 days delinquent due to challenges like natural disasters, the pandemic or other unexpected situations were brought current and had their next installment paid to give them breathing room.”
Again, this assistance is automatic and will begin in April. Contact your local FSA office for more information. You can locate your local USDA Service Center by going to www.farmers.gov.