Following the devastating effects of tornadoes this week, USDA is offering assistance to those in need. USDA offers many programs that can provide assistance to landowners, farmers, ranchers and producers during disasters. No Presidential or Secretarial declarations are required for the provision of much of this assistance.
Agricultural producers are reminded that Federal crop insurance covers tornado damage, as well as other natural causes of loss. Please remember to report your loss to your insurance agent or company within 72 hours and in writing within 15 days. Your insurance company will send out a loss adjuster as soon as they are safely able to do so and will document your insurance claim. Please remember that you cannot destroy your crop or plant a new crop until the loss adjuster or your insurance company has informed you that you can do so.
Three disaster programs are currently available to farmers and ranchers (and private forest land owners) through the Farm Service Agency. They are: Emergency Designation (low-interest) loans, the Emergency Conservation Program (ECP), and the Emergency Forest Restoration Program (EFRP).
Up to two-thirds of the counties in the United States have been designated as disaster areas in each of the past several years. Producers may apply for low-interest emergency (EM) loans in counties named as primary or contiguous under a disaster designation. For more information, contact your nearest USDA service center or any USDA state office.
USDA has reached out to Oklahoma state partners to offer food assistance to those in need in areas affected by the tornadoes. USDA, through the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) will continue to work closely with the state to provide support and technical assistance as needed.
Many residents of the affected area are in need of shelter. USDA Rural Development staff is identifying USDA-financed and currently available multi-family (apartment) units and will provide the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) with information needed to assist those in need of emergency housing. For emergency assistance with immediate housing needs contact FEMA.
Once the emergency is over, those wishing to buy or repair a home in an eligible rural area may qualify for a loan or loan guarantee through USDA. Please contact your local USDA Service Center for additional information.