In late May, two zoos in central North Dakota were hit hard by flooding. The disaster prompted the need for a swift evacuation of the animals. In Bismarck, the Missouri River threatened to submerge the Dakota Zoo and its 500+ animals under as much as seven feet of water, and in Minot the Roosevelt Park Zoo was a potential target of the rising Souris River, which runs directly through the city.
During the height of the flooding, APHIS’ Animal Care Program monitored reports coming from the zoos and kept abreast of river levels. Inspector Amy Jirsa-Smith contacted zoo officials regularly. She was on-site at both facilities, and helped corral some animals at the Dakota Zoo so they could be transported to other facilities. However, she is quick to point out that the zoo staff at both facilities, with the assistance of several cooperating state and local agencies, state veterinarians, four neighboring zoos and the National Guard, had everything under control. Read more »
From left: Farmers Steve Roth, Don Rief, Dale Rief, Clifford Dilts discuss topics covered during a town hall meeting with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack at the Glenwood Community High School in Glenwood, Iowa on Thursday, June 16, 2011. Farmers, local and regional media listened and questioned Secretary Vilsack on the cause of the floodwaters along the Missouri River affecting Iowa and Nebraska. Secretary Vilsack offered advice and assistance available through the United States Department of Agriculture and other federal agencies.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack met face-to-face last week with about 40 farmers, ranchers and producers from Iowa and Nebraska impacted by flooding along the Missouri River. The Secretary promised the group he would stay until every question had been answered and every concerned voiced – and he did just that, engaging in a dialogue that lasted more than two hours. Read more »
On June 15, 2011 USDA’s executive director of the National Food and Agriculture Council, John Berge spoke with agricultural producers and businesses regarding his tour of the agricultural lands devastated by the Missouri River flood and the assistance that USDA has to provide in this time of need.
Berge said, “Our goal with the tour and the conversations that we have had with producers and community leaders is to get a firsthand look and provide that information back to Washington necessary to better deliver our disaster programs expeditiously to effectively respond to this disaster.” Read more »
USDA South Dakota Rural Development State Director Elsie Meeks took a tour of the flood control preparations underway in Pierre and Ft. Pierre, last Thursday. A number of homes are threatened, including those financed by government agencies, including USDA.
Residents are preparing for the worst as the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers increase water flow from the Oahe Dam from 85,000 cubic feet per second (CFS) to 150,000 CFS. Flooding is imminent in the communities because of rising water levels on the Missouri River. Read more »
A bout of flooding and tornadoes throughout parts of the Southeast have left thousands of people in need. Several USDA agencies have been working for weeks with state and local officials, as well as individuals, businesses, farmers and ranchers, as they begin the process of helping to get people back on their feet. USDA offers a variety of resources for states and individuals affected by the recent disasters. Just last week, USDA Under Secretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager and Acting Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Michael Scuse toured several states and met hundreds of folks affected by recent disasters.
It makes me glad that our programs are helping storm victims get back on their feet. I accompanied Donald Arnette, USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service’s (FNS) Southeast Regional Administrator, on a recent tour to assure those in need and eligible that they would receive disaster nutrition assistance at any of the following locations: disaster shelters, feeding sites, Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (DSNAP) sites, and food banks. The FNS disaster nutrition assistance available to eligible individuals include: DSNAP; the Special Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC); and USDA Foods distributed through the Commodity Supplemental Food Programs, which also includes The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP). Read more »
The state of Mississippi, recently hit with back-to-back disasters in the forms of record-intensity tornadoes in the eastern portion of the state and devastating floods in the Mississippi River Delta, was visited by two USDA under secretaries on Thursday.
USDA Under Secretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager and USDA Acting Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Michael Scuse spent much of Thursday in Mississippi as part of an intense whirlwind tour of flood-damaged areas of Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana and tornado damaged areas of Alabama. This tour follows visits last week by President Barack Obama and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to the tornado affected areas of Mississippi and Alabama. Read more »