USDA Emergency Assistance Workshop

November 6th, 2018 9AM-11AM Chipley, FL

The workshop consisted of a presentation, supported by questions and answers between the audience and USDA representatives. This document is not comprehensive in regards to information on the programs mentioned from the workshop, but just supplemental information for people who need financial and technical assistance. Because these are federal programs that are constantly changing with the available resources, it is highly recommended that you sign up for the Farm Service Agency Newsletter to stay up-to-date (https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/USFSA/subscriber/new/). The representatives understand that time is of the essence for fixing devastation from Hurricane Michael, but unfortunately the process for getting assistance will be slow. Once you apply you will have a personal file with your claims and applications included for monitoring through the program. They also mentioned that crop damage could be covered under crop insurance, only if the insurance was purchased prior to Hurricane Michael, and emergency livestock assistance is available if you lost hay.

David Sweeney, representative of the Farm Service Agency (FSA), was the main speaker, covering specific programs and what they do and do not cover. He emphasized that when seeking assistance through the programs, be sure to include the landowner’s name in addition to yours when applying (if you are not the name listed on the land deed). Also, the agency is not in charge of finding someone to help people remove debris or fix fences (no contracting); their responsibility is cost sharing through the financial assistance programs. All representatives stressed documenting the damage that has occurred due to Hurricane Michael, such as taking pictures, keeping receipts, and logging time spent removing debris or fixing fences. In conclusion, some offices are closed due to Hurricane Michael, so signing up for assistance is essentially limited to the FSA offices in Marianna, Quincy, and Bonifay, as well as the extension office in Blountstown. Hours are weekdays 7:30AM-4:00PM, but are flexible if you call the offices in advance to set up an appointment.

Included programs: