Farmers and ranchers who lost livestock, buildings, pasture and crops to wildfires this summer can seek help from the USDA’s Farm Service Agency.
Agency Director Val Dolcini said emergency loan and other disaster assistance programs are available. Producers should gather their records, including photos of damage, and contact the nearest FSA office, he said.
“The important thing for farmers and ranchers to do is make sure fires get put out, then contact us,” Dolcini said in a telephone interview with the Capital Press.
“It’s a horrific thing, a tremendous personal trauma, to see cattle die in a fire or a structure that maybe you built by hand burn to ground,” he said.
The FSA’s disaster assistance programs are intended to aid producers hit by fires, flood, drought, tornadoes, freezing temperatures, pest infestation and other problems. The programs cover losses to livestock, grazing land, fences and eligible trees, bushes and vines, according to FSA’s website.
Aid programs also are available for damage to honeybees and farm-raised fish. Funding and technical assistance is available to help farmers and ranchers rehabilitate land damaged by natural disasters, and for implementing water conservation measures during drought.
Producers who bought coverage for otherwise non-insurable crops can get compensation for damage that prevents planting or causes lower yields or crop losses, according to FSA.
Wildfires in Eastern Oregon and Washington this summer have burned more than 1.4 million acres and destroyed hundreds of homes and outbuildings. Idaho and Northern California have been hard hit as well; fires in California’s Lake County alone destroyed nearly 600 structures.
FSA’s disaster assistance programs