Cleaning Up After Hurricane Florence: Information for Contract Poultry and Livestock Producers in North Carolina

The impact of Hurricane Florence has left poultry and hog farmers across the state with damages to their homes, land, and essential farm equipment. Farmers may also face the added dilemma of livestock mortality. Disaster recovery and rebuilding is a long road. Cleanup can be challenging and expensive. And accessing funds to assist in disaster recovery can be confusing and overwhelming. This fact sheet includes information about programs and loans available to assist farmers in this recovery process.

General Tips for Disaster Recovery

Assistance for disaster recovery may not be available until months or years after the disaster occurred. Because of this, it’s very important to keep a record of the damages and losses sustained on your farm as well as your cleanup and recovery efforts following the disaster.

  1. Document everything: Before starting clean up, take pictures of all damage and losses. Keep a record of cleanup work and related expenses in a notebook or log.
  2. Communicate early and often: Call the local FSA Office to report any losses or damages. Do this early on and check back in with them throughout the recovery process.
  3. Keep a record of conversations: Keep a running log of what was discussed during conversations with agency contacts either in a notebook or another file. This creates a valuable, 3rd party record of your recovery efforts that may be used later on as documentation for assistance programs.

RAFI-USA Documenting Disasters Video: bit.ly/Documenting_Disasters

All of the following programs need to be applied for through your local USDA Office unless otherwise stated.

Damage to Buildings or Equipment

Resources for damage to farm buildings, property, and equipment:

  • FSA Emergency Loans (EM): These low interest loans help producers recover from production and physical losses due to drought and flooding.
    • USDA fact sheet for EM – bit.ly/EM_florence
    • Deadline: Applications for emergency loans must be received within eight months of the county’s disaster or quarantine designation date.

Damage to Land

Resources to rehabilitate land severely damaged by natural disaster, including fence loss, debris removal, etc.

  • Emergency Conservation Program (ECP): provides emergency funding for farmers and livestock producers to rehabilitate land severely damaged by natural disasters. The program provides up to 75% reimbursement of costs, 90% for limited resource applicants. A site visit from your local FSA office will be required.
  • USDA fact sheet on ECP bit.ly/ECP_Florence
  • Deadline: Varies by incident – check with your local FSA office

Programs to Help with Damages to Litter Sheds or Hog Lagoons

*Your local NRCS office should be contacted to check program eligibility

  • Emergency Conservation Program – If original structure was built through NRCS, then ECP may be the best fit for structure repairs.
  • Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) – If original structure was built through NRCS, then EQIP may be better fit for a total re-do of the structure.
  • If the structure was not originally constructed through NRCS, then it may not be eligible for either ECP or EQIP. However, if the structure requires a complete tear down & re-build, then EQIP may be a good fit. Please check with you local NRCS office for eligibility.
  • The new fiscal year for EQIP begins Oct. 1st. Applications received between Oct. 1st and Nov. 2nd will be considered for fiscal year 2019 funding. Applications received after Nov. 2nd will be considered for future funding opportunities in fiscal year 2019, should the opportunity present.
  • Applicants should contact their local NRCS office to establish eligibility ASAP.
  • Information on North Carolina NRCS: bit.ly/NC_NRCS
    Information on North Carolina EQIP: bit.ly/NC_EQIP

Livestock Mortality

  • Disposal methods (pared down version below, learn more: rafiusa.org/blog/poultrymortalitydisposal
    • Composting – is simple, inexpensive, biosecure, and produces a useful end product.
    • Landfill burial – is less environmentally risky than other options, but may be expensive or not allowed in all landfill facilities. Consult NCDA&CS for a list of approved landfill locations.
    • Rendering & incineration – while biosecure, may be ineffective & costly for catastrophic losses.
    • Burial – is a quick, inexpensive method of disposal, but is not recommended in areas with a high water table and must be approved by NCDA&CS before disposal or the producer may incur a large fine or loss of contract.
  • To report losses and request assistance or information regarding disposal, contact NCDA&CS Agriculture Weather and Emergency Hotline: 1-866-645-9403.
  • NCDA&CS has approved the use of funds for the removal and disposal of livestock carcasses. Producers may contact their Eastern Regional Emergency Program Specialist, Scott Rackley, at 919-710-9410 directly or the NCDA&CS hotline for information.  
  • NRCS has approved the use of EQIP funding to dispose of livestock carcasses (75% reimbursement), but work must be preapproved. Deadline for applications is Oct. 12th.
  • Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) – provides payments to livestock owners and some contract growers for livestock deaths  in excess of normal mortality that are a direct result of an eligible disaster event.
  • Deadlines: For LIP, the final date to file a notice of loss is no later than 30 calendar days of when loss is first apparent or 60 calendar days after publication. For LIP, the final date to submit an application for payment is 90 days after the calendar year in which the eligible loss occurred.

Loss of Food or Income

  • Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA): provides unemployment payments to farmers unable to work due to disaster. People should apply for benefits through NC Division of Employment Services – bit.ly/NCD_EmploymentSecurity
  • Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP) gives food assistance to households with food loss or damage caused by a natural disaster.
    • Locations to apply for D-SNAP vary. For locations refer to: bit.ly/DSNAP_Locations
    • Benefits must be applied for by Oct. 6th.

RAFI-USA’s Farmer Hotline

If you are a farmer affected by Hurricane Florence, please feel free to call the RAFI-USA hotline at 919-542-1396, option 1, or call toll-free 866-586-6746. The hotline is operated 7 days a week from 7 am to 7 pm. If you do not reach a RAFI-USA staff member, please leave a voicemail with your name, telephone number, and a brief reason why you called. We will return your call as soon as possible.

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