A roundup of disaster assistance that may help farms and agribusinesses affected by Hurricane Matthew

By on November 2, 2016

Flooded farm

In early October, Hurricane Matthew’s heavy rain flooded farms in central and eastern N.C. counties, damaging fields, homes and equipment.

Farms and agribusinesses affected by Hurricane Matthew may be eligible for assistance from several agencies and organizations. Here is a roundup of programs we are aware of at this time.

USDA Disaster Assistance

The USDA Farm Service Agency offers disaster assistance and low-interest loan programs to assist agricultural producers in their recovery efforts following qualifying natural disasters. Available programs and loans include:

  • Non-Insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) provides financial assistance to producers of non-insurable crops when low yields, loss of inventory or prevented planting occurs due to natural disasters (includes native grass for grazing). Eligible producers must have purchased NAP coverage for 2016 crops.
  • Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) offers payments to eligible producers for livestock death losses in excess of normal mortality due to adverse weather. Eligible losses may include those determined by FSA to have been caused by hurricanes, floods, blizzards, wildfires, tropical storms, tornadoes, lightning, extreme heat and extreme cold. Producers will be required to provide verifiable documentation of death losses resulting from an eligible adverse weather event and must submit a notice of loss to their local FSA office within 30 calendar days of when the loss of livestock is apparent.
  • Tree Assistance Program (TAP) provides assistance to eligible orchardists and nursery tree growers for qualifying tree, shrub and vine losses due to natural disaster.
  • Emergency Forest Restoration Program (EFRP) – The objective of EFRP is to restore non-industrial private forest land damaged by natural disasters. Cost-share assistance is provided to owners of such land that has been damaged by a natural disaster.
  • Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) provides emergency relief for losses due to feed or water shortages, disease, adverse weather or other conditions, which are not adequately addressed by other disaster programs. ELAP covers physically damaged or destroyed livestock feed that was purchased or mechanically harvested forage or feedstuffs intended for use as feed for the producer’s eligible livestock. In order to be considered eligible, harvested forage must be baled; forage that is only cut, raked or windrowed is not eligible. Producers must submit a notice of loss to their local FSA office within 30 calendar days of when the loss is apparent. ELAP also covers up to 150 lost grazing days in instances when a producer has been forced to remove livestock from a grazing pasture due to floodwaters. For beekeepers, ELAP covers beehive losses (the physical structure) in instances where the hive has been destroyed by a natural disaster including flooding, high winds and tornadoes.
  • Emergency Loan Program – Available to producers with agriculture operations located in a county under a primary or contiguous Secretarial Disaster designation. These low-interest loans help producers recover from production and physical losses due to drought, flooding.
  • Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) provides emergency funding for farmers and livestock producers to rehabilitate land severely damaged by natural disasters; includes fence loss.

For additional information, visit the FSA North Carolina office’s website, http://www.fsa.usda.gov/state-offices/North-Carolina/index.

FEMA

The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Individual Assistance Division provides housing assistance to individuals and families who have lost their homes as a result of a presidentially declared disaster. By law, FEMA assistance cannot duplicate the assistance you receive from your insurance company.  If your home was impacted by a major disaster, FEMA recommends that you apply for assistance. There are Disaster Recovery Centers throughout the affected area to provide help.

Small Business Administration

In addition to joint Disaster Recovery Centers with FEMA, the U.S. Small Business Administration has Business Recovery Centers in Robeson, Cumberland and Pitt counties. SBA staff can provide information about disaster loans, answer questions and help businesses in completing the SBA application.

The SBA offers low-interest, long-term disaster loans for physical damage and working capital.

Additional information on the disaster loan program may be obtained by calling SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) or by sending an email to disastercustomerservice@sba.gov. Loan applications can be downloaded from www.sba.gov. Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application via SBA’s secure website at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.

The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is Dec. 9, 2016. The deadline to return economic injury applications is July 10, 2017.

N.C. Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program

A group of small-business support organizations has activated the North Carolina Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program in response to Hurricane Matthew. The program will provide short-term, interest-free loans to small businesses that experienced physical or economic damage during the storm and recovery efforts.

The Bridge Loan Program is a partnership of the N.C. Rural Economic Development Center, the Small Business and Technology Development Center and the Community College Small Business Center Network. The program has raised over $3 million from funders including the Golden LEAF Foundation, N.C.’s Electric Cooperatives, BB&T, PNC and Wells Fargo. Loan details and an application are available here: http://www.ncruralcenter.org/hurricanematthew.

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