Approximately $5-7 billion in U.S. economic losses are estimated from recent flooding in California, according to catastrophe risk modeling and solutions company, Moody’s RMS. The USDA is prepared with technical and financial aid for farmers and ranchers impacted by the massive natural disaster. 

“USDA employees are working diligently to deliver our extensive portfolio of disaster assistance programs and services to all impacted agricultural producers,” Zach Ducheneaux, Administrator of USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), said. “We’re also proud of recent updates FSA made to disaster assistance programs that allow us to improve our response to California producers.”

Local USDA Service Centers are taking calls from farmers and landowners reporting anticipated damages. Initial calls should be made within 72 hours of the event, if possible, to remain eligible for all possible programs. 

Livestock producers that have deaths in their herds may be eligible for the Livestock Indemnity Program. A notice of loss is required to be sent to the local FSA office within 30 days of the loss of livestock for payment worth 75% of market value. Additional over-arching assistance is available through the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program for losses not covered by other disaster aid programs. 

Nursery tree growers and orchardists are eligible forecast-share funding through the Tree Assistance Program to rehabilitate or replant eligible vines, bushes or trees. Applications must be filed within 90 days. 

The Farm Service Agency provides a variety of operating and emergency direct farm loans to replace essential property, cover family living expenses, refinance farm-related debts or purchase inputs like livestock, equipment, feed and seed. Loan servicing options are available for borrowers unable to make scheduled payments. 

Producers with Federal Crop Insurance or FSA’s Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program should report damages to their respective insurance agent or FSA office within 72 hours of damage discovery and follow up within 15 days in writing. A Notice of Loss (CCC-576) must be filed. 

Conservation funding to restore fencing, damaged farmland, forests, and watershed impairments is available through the FSA Emergency Conservation Program (ECP), FSA Emergency Forest Restoration Program (EFRP) and NRCS Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) program. 

“Production agriculture is vital to the California economy, and USDA stands ready to assist in the recovery from these catastrophic flood events,” Ducheneaux added. 

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