Commissioner Steve Troxler: Deadline to Apply for Hurricane Ag Disaster Program is Dec. 10

Farmers have until Dec. 10 to get in their applications for the Hurricane Agricultural Disaster Program of 2018. If funded by the legislature, the program will directly assist farmers who suffered losses because of Hurricane Florence to commodities planted but not harvested before Sept. 13 and livestock. The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will administer the program.

  • We are in the final weeks of accepting applications for the Hurricane Florence Agricultural Disaster Program of 2018, a one-time assistance program for agricultural producers who suffered a loss due to Hurricane Florence. The deadline is Dec. 10 and I urge any grower who was affected by Florence to submit their application. To date, we have over 1,500 applications submitted.
  • We have requested $250 million in funding and hope our legislators will fund the program because of the severity of the storm damage and the precarious state of many farming operations. The ag disaster program was established in October by the N.C. General Assembly with Session Law 2018-136, and were given the mandate to create a program for administering assistance.
  • I will concede that $250 million is a big number, but I can assure you it does not come close to making farmers whole for their losses. This is meant to be a bridge-type program that helps them get to another season, and specifically, we hope it keeps them in business so we do not lose farmers as a result of this horrific storm.
  • Some may question why aid is even needed, but I would argue it is an investment in an industry that is the foundation of our state‚Äôs economy and particularly the economies in towns across Eastern North Carolina.
  • Without assistance, I am fearful we are going to lose a good number of farmers because this was not just one storm, it was a storm, coupled with previous disasters, low commodity prices and high debt load. It hit many farmers when they could least afford to absorb the loss.

 

  • If funded, this program will provide much needed cash flow to maintain agriculture and its multiplier effect for rural economies.

 

  • I also encourage farmers to contact their legislators about funding this program. We have been working closely with them, sharing the severity of the situation, but it is important that they also hear from the farmers who have been affected.

 

  • To be eligible you must live in county that received a presidential or secretarial disaster declaration due to Hurricane Florence. There are 51 counties with this declaration.
  • Commodities are eligible if the commodity was planted but not harvested, on or before Sept. 13, 2018 in one of the eligible counties.
  • Nursery crops, fruit-bearing trees and bushes, and specialty crops may extend their deadline to May 1, 2019 upon written request in the application. The extension is granted because the survival level of these crops is not immediately known and may not be until next spring.
  • Livestock and poultry producers who qualify for and have received payment form the USDA Livestock Indemnity Program are also eligible for assistance through this program. They may also request an extension in the application until March 1, 2019.
  • Again the deadline is Dec. 10. Contact your local extension office for application assistance or contact the NCDA&CS Agriculture Disaster Assistance Hotline Monday thru Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 1-866-645-9403.
  • An electronic application is also available from a link on our website ncagr.gov.