Guest post by Kevin Pearia, USDA Loan Program.
While the damage done by Hurricane Irene may not
resonate with the U.S. like the damage and destruction caused by
Hurricane Katrina, it has still left lasting impacts on many of our
fellow farms in the Farm Stay circle. Hurricane Irene was the first
make landfall on certain states in over a hundred years, and
left many communities under feet of water and battered from wind
However, all hope is not lost for the farms, ranches, and rural
communities in the Northeast. The USDA has recently suggested that
it will be providing assistance to those in Presidentially deemed
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to all who have suffered losses
caused by this massive storm," stated Tom Vilsack, Agriculture
Secretary. "USDA is ready to provide food, emergency assistance and
other resources to the affected areas. We continue to closely
coordinate with many partners to meet the immediate and plan for
the long-term needs of those affected by Hurricane Irene."
What Types of Assistance are Available?
The USDA is currently providing a wide variety of assistance,
and each are offered through different programs within the
department. The basic types of assistance being offered
- Food Assistance
- Housing Assistance
- Farmer and Rancher Assistance
- Community Assistance
- Business Assistance
- Utility Assistance
Who Do We Contact for Assistance?
Although there are several types of aid offered and many are
being offered through different departments, there are three key
departments who should be contacted first for assistance:
- USDA Farm Service Agency Service Center for crop and livestock
- Rural Development Office for housing, business, or community
- Natural Resources Conservation Service for debris removal
Who is Eligible?
As long as you are in an area deemed a disaster area by the
President of the United States you should be eligible for
assistance. Call your local USDA
Farm Service Agency Service Center for further details
We hope that farms damaged by Hurricane Irene will be able to
fully recover so that they can join our network once again, and
keep bringing the joy of the farm into the lives of others.
Photos: Bradley Farm in
New Palz, NY (not a farm stay but a farmer's dream, nonetheless,
that was severely damaged by the storm!)