Disaster Relief Resources for Farmers Impacted by December 11 Tornados

On the evening of December 11, six states — Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi, and Tennessee — were hit by destructive tornadoes. President Biden has already approved an emergency declaration for Kentucky, and assessment of damage in other areas is ongoing. 

Depending on the household, farm operational, or infrastructural damage experienced, farmers and ranchers may be eligible for a variety of disaster recovery programs. The following includes a summary of currently available programs and general information about disaster recovery for farmers. We will continue adding to this page as more resources and programs become available.

**Producers are encouraged to call the RAFI-USA hotline toll-free at 866.586.6746 if they have additional questions or require further assistance.

What to Do After a Farm Disaster?

To learn more about disaster recovery, take a look at our Disaster Recovery Resources for Farmers webpage which includes more information about finding immediate relief, documenting disaster losses, and resources for damage to households. The following are a collection of featured resources:

  • Navigating Disaster Assistance for Farmers – a great summary of all the federal programs that may be able to help farmers post-disaster. 
  • Documenting Disaster Losses – detailed explanation for how farmers should record damage and recovery efforts in order to receive reimbursement, such as through the Emergency Conservation Program.
  • Disaster Division of Labor – nine-minute video explaining the agencies that provide disaster recovery assistance to farmers for different types of damage and losses.
  • Documenting Disasters – nine-minute video explaining how farmers should document damages and losses caused by natural disasters in order to apply for disaster assistance programs.

Household Disaster Relief

  • FEMA is currently assessing damage and needs for those affected in Kentucky. Currently available resources are listed on its website here.

Farm Disaster Relief

If you experienced some type of damage or loss to your farm operation due to an adverse weather event, you should first contact your local FSA office to notify them of the impact. Find contact info for your local office here. Notification of damage or loss within 30 to 60 days is required for certain disaster recovery programs. In addition to reporting damage, farmers can apply for a disaster relief program through their FSA office. Visit the USDA’s Disaster Assistance Discovery Tool to determine what FSA programs you may be able to apply for. 

Some of the disaster recovery programs include:

  • Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) – helps farmers and ranchers to repair damage to farmlands caused by natural disasters.
  • Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees, and Farm-Raised Fish (ELAP) – provides financial assistance to eligible producers of livestock, honey bees, and farm-raised fish for losses due to disease, certain adverse weather events, or loss conditions.
  • Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) – provides benefits to livestock producers for livestock deaths in excess of normal mortality caused by adverse weather.
  • Emergency Farm Loans (ELP) – loans to help producers who suffer qualifying farm related losses caused by a disaster (only available when there’s a Presidential Declaration, Secretarial Designation, and an Administrator’s Property Loss Notification).
  • Disaster Set-Aside Program (fact sheet) – allows FSA borrowers in a designated disaster area who are unable to make a scheduled payment on FSA debt to set-aside one payment to allow operations to continue.

What about damage to crops?

Most federal farm disaster assistance programs require prior participation in RMA crop insurance programs or non-insured crop disaster assistance programs, such as NAP. There are not many options for producers to recover losses on crops post-disaster if they don’t have crop insurance. 

**For more information with applying for any of the Farm Disaster Relief programs, contact RAFI-USA at [email protected]

Food, Land & Sacred Stories - RAFI's 2024 Come to the Table ConferenceRegister Now!