Baton Rouge, La - On Aug. 17, 2016, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reminded farmers and ranchers, families and small businesses affected by the severe storms and flooding in Louisiana that USDA has several programs that provide assistance before, during and after disasters. USDA staff in regional, state and parish offices are ready to help.
"Our hearts go out to the families and communities in Louisiana who have been devastated by flooding over the past several weeks," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "USDA has offices in nearly every county or parish in the U.S., and we want to remind people that we have a variety of services that may be useful in challenging times like this one. Our employees are also members of the communities hit by flooding, and we want to help."
USDA encourages Louisiana residents to contact the following offices to meet their individual needs:
Property and Shelter: Information can be found on the Rural Development website or by contacting the State Office located at 3727 Government Street, Alexandria, LA 71302, or by calling (318) 473-7920 or (866) 481-9571.
Food Assistance and Food Safety: Resources for disaster feeding partners as well as available FNS disaster nutrition assistance can be found on the FNS Disaster Assistance website.
Owners of meat and poultry producing businesses who have questions or concerns may contact the FSIS Small Plant Help Desk by phone at 1-877-FSIS-HELP (1-877-374-7435), by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 24/7 online at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/regulatory-compliance/svsp/sphelpdesk.
Crop and Livestock Loss: Information on all of these programs can be found at http://disaster.fsa.usda.gov.
USDA encourages farmers and ranchers to contact their local FSA office to learn what documents can help the local office expedite assistance, such as farm records, receipts and pictures of damages or losses. FSA maintains contact information online for all Louisiana parish offices.
Producers should report crop damage within 72 hours of damage discovery and follow up in writing within 15 days.
Community Recovery Resources: The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) can assist local government sponsors with the cost of implementing recovery efforts like debris removal and streambank stabilization to address natural resource concerns and hazards through the Emergency Watershed Protection Program. NRCS also can help producers with damaged agricultural lands caused by natural disasters such as floods. The NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) provides financial assistance to repair and prevent excessive soil erosion that can result from high rainfall events and flooding. USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture provides support for disaster education through the Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN). The information is available online at the LSU AgCenter's Disaster Information. The page includes a list of downloadable publications including a mold removal guideline and storm recovery guide.
For complete details and eligibility requirements regarding USDA's disaster assistance programs, contact a local USDA Service Center. More information about USDA disaster assistance as well as other disaster resources is available on the USDA Disaster Resource Center website. In partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other disaster-focused organizations, USDA created a Disaster Resource Center website, utilizing a new online searchable knowledgebase. The new Disaster Resource Center website and web tool now provide an easy access point to find USDA disaster information and assistance.
As of August 14, FEMA has named 20 Louisiana parishes eligible for federal disaster assistance available at http://bit.ly/2b3b0Lo