“The USDA is here to help growers and rural Americans affected by heavy rains, storms and flooding in Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas. We want you and your communities to know that USDA is with you and the thousands of farm families who feed and feed America, ”Secretary Vilsack said. “To find out what help can be offered to you, visit farmers.gov or your local USDA service center.
As residents return home, the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) helps ensure they take appropriate action to reduce the risk of foodborne illness. Food safety tips after a power outage and flood are available on the FSIS website.
USDA encourages those whose homes were flooded during the storm to take
the following steps to ensure the safety of their food:
· Drink only bottled water that has not been in contact with flood water. Throw away any bottled water that may have come in contact with flood water.
· Throw away any food that is not in an airtight container if there is a risk that it may have come into contact with flood water. Food containers that are not leak-proof include those with screw caps, snap-on lids, pull-on lids, and crimp caps.
· Throw away any wooden cutting boards, plastic utensils, bottle nipples, and nipples that may have come into contact with flood water.
· Thoroughly wash all metal pots, ceramic dishes and utensils that have come into contact with flood water with hot soapy water. Disinfect them by boiling them in clean water or submerging them for 15 minutes in a solution of 1 tablespoon of unscented liquid bleach per gallon of drinking water.
Undamaged and commercially prepared foods in all-metal cans and autoclave pouches such as juice or seafood pouches that are flexible and shelf stable can be preserved by following the steps in FSIS Consumer’s Guide to Food Safety: Severe Storms and Hurricanes webpage.
Risk management and disaster assistance for agricultural operations:
USDA offers several risk management and disaster assistance options to help growers recover after being affected by flooding, high winds and hail.
Even before disasters strike, USDA is providing tools for producers to manage their risks through Federal Crop Insurance Program, a public-private partnership between the USDA risk management agency and private companies and agents. For crops for which crop insurance is not available, the Uninsured Agricultural Disaster Assistance Program (PAN) is available from the local agricultural service agency. This risk protection includes loss of crop production and loss of trees for certain crop insurance products. It is recommended that growers contact their crop insurance agent or the local FSA office for more information.
Growers who have purchased Federal Crop Insurance or NAP who experience losses are urged to report crop damage to their crop insurance agent or local FSA office, respectively, within 72 hours. discovery of damage and follow-up in writing within 15 days.
Livestock and perennial crop producers often have more limited risk management options, so there are several disaster programs for them. Key programs offered by the USDA Farm Service Agency include:
· The Livestock Compensation Program and the Emergency assistance program for livestock, bees and farmed fish reimburses producers for a portion of the value of livestock, poultry and other animals that have been killed or seriously injured by a natural disaster or the loss of hectares of fodder and pasture.
· The Tree assistance program provides cost-shared assistance to rehabilitate or replant and clean orchards and vineyards that kill or damage trees, vines or shrubs. NAP or Federal Crop Insurance often only covers the crop and not the plant.
USDA reminds growers that it is essential to keep accurate records to document damage or loss and to report losses to your local USDA service center as soon as possible.
In addition, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service can provide financial resources through its Environmental quality incentive program to meet immediate needs and long-term support to help recover from natural disasters and conserve water resources. USDA can also help local government sponsors with the cost of salvage efforts like debris removal and riverbank stabilization to address concerns and dangers to natural resources across the country. Emergency watershed protection program.
The Farm Service Agency (FSA) also offers a variety of loans, including emergency loans that are triggered by disaster declarations and operating loans that can help producers meet credit needs.
At farmers.gov, the Disaster Assistance Discovery Tool, Disaster at-a-glance fact sheet (PDF, 4.7 MB), and Agricultural Loan Discovery Tool can help producers and landowners determine program or loan options. For assistance with a crop insurance claim, growers and landowners should contact their crop insurance agent. For FSA and NRCS programs, they should contact their USDA Service Center.
The USDA touches the lives of all Americans every day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris administration, the USDA is transforming the American food system with a greater emphasis on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe food, healthy and nutritious in all communities, creating new markets and income streams for farmers and producers using climate-smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capacity in communities. rural America, and a commitment to equity throughout the department by removing systemic barriers and creating a workforce that is more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.