Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will make available $20 million in cost-share assistance to help agricultural producers in Kentucky, Minnesota, South Dakota and surrounding areas to rebuild storage facilities damaged by devastating natural disaster events in 2021 and 2022. This assistance will help producers who were hard-hit by disasters and are currently struggling with a lack of available grain storage have the resources they need as they head into the 2022 crop harvest.
“Over the past two years, weather events in several states caused catastrophic losses to grain storage facilities on family farms as well as a large, commercial grain elevator, leaving stored grain exposed to the elements and affecting commodity marketing options for many producers. USDA heard from congressional leaders, including Minority Leader McConnell, who identified a gap in our disaster assistance toolkit, and we went to work designing a new program to deliver direct assistance to producers who are struggling to meet their on-farm storage capacity needs in the wake of disasters,” Secretary Vilsack said. “Congress has provided USDA with important flexibility through the Commodity Credit Corporation, which gives us the tools to be nimble as we work to support the production and marketing of agricultural commodities and quickly respond to agricultural producers’ needs.”
This assistance from USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) will be designed to help producers affected by the December 2021 tornadoes that passed through eleven counties in Kentucky, as well as producers in Minnesota and South Dakota affected by the derechos (severe thunderstorms and straight-line winds) that swept through these states in May 2022 and July 2022.
Similar to other USDA cost-share programs, USDA anticipates that the funds announced today will cover 75% of the eligible expenses associated with building grain storage capacity or purchasing equipment such as grain baggers for a producer’s own use or for a shared-cost arrangement among a group of producers who want to use a common facility. The program will be primarily focused on supporting producers or groups of producers in their efforts to build new storage capacity in eligible areas where there is a shortage of local grain storage. Details on the program and the process to seek cost share will be available in a future Federal Register notice, but USDA also has an existing Farm Storage Facility Loan Program that can immediately provide low-interest financing. Producers should contact their local service center for details or to ensure they are on a list for updates.
To determine locations where producers may be eligible for emergency grain storage facility assistance, state impact area maps for Kentucky, Minnesota, South Dakota and surrounding areas are now available online. These maps depict damaged storage facility locations and counties within a 30-mile radius of these facilities where producers may be eligible for this new program. If a producer believes their county should also qualify for this program, there will be a procedure to consider and add additional counties.
Through proactive communications and outreach, USDA will keep producers and stakeholders informed as program eligibility, application and implementation details are made available in the coming weeks.
Additional USDA disaster assistance information can be found on farmers.gov, including the USDA Disaster Assistance Discovery Tool, Disaster-at-a-Glance fact sheet, and Farm Loan Discovery Tool. For FSA and Natural Resources Conservation Service programs, producers should contact their local USDA Service Center. For assistance with a crop insurance claim, producers and landowners should contact their crop insurance agent.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. Under the Biden-Harris administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. Source : usda.gov