Ag industry recovering in the wake of Hurricane Sandy

Posted on November 5, 2012

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Hurricane Sandy impacted farmers and ranchers across the East Coast.

Some of the problems being reported:

But, as Feedstuffs points out, the damage was not as catastrophic as it could have been; compared to the devastation wreaked by Sandy in other spheres, the ag industry was fortunate, and the losses suffered should prove temporary.  This is perhaps due in part to the quick response of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The USDA is urging ranchers to record their losses, including livestock deaths and extra expenses due to feed or transportation. They will be handled under the 2008 Farm Bill.  In the meantime, the USDA is equipping personnel to help ranchers and farmers in the wake of the storm.

Drovers reports with advice for ranchers who experienced storm damage:

Producers with damaged farmland should contact their local FSA office. The Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) may be able to assist producer who need to repair farmland or remove debris due to Hurricane Sandy. FSA currently has $15.5 million available for producers in counties that received a Major Disaster declaration pursuant to the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act. Producers located in counties that have not received a Major Disaster declaration should visit their local FSA office for information on ECP if funding becomes available in the future.

Meanwhile, ag producers who weren’t directly affected by Sandy have an opportunity to help out: the New York Farm Bureau is asking for donations of fresh food as families throughout the state cope with tremendous repercussions of the storm. The Chronicle-Express quotes NYFB president Dean Norton (phone numbers and contact information in the article):

“Many of our farmers, who experienced Irene and Lee last year, know first-hand the hardships that follow a devastating storm. By nature, farmers are a generous bunch, and we encourage all of our members to give what they can to the relief effort. So many people came to our aid last year, and we will do our best to repay the generosity.”

As hundreds of thousands wait for their power to be returned, and the death toll climbs, the full extent of Hurricane Sandy’s damage is still to be seen–but America’s ranchers and farmers are weathering the storm.

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