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Disaster Assistance Options for Louisiana Rice Producers
Update from LA: Trying to cut rice with 12 inches of water in the field (photo credit: Paul Johnson)
BATON ROUGE, LA – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) county emergency boards are currently working with interested parties such as Louisiana rice growers, the LSU AgCenter, and the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry to assess damages in the field. These reports will be used as part of the request to USDA for Secretarial Disaster Designation.
Carrie Castille, with Louisiana Rice, explained that "these assessments are critical in providing much needed information to administer disaster assistance."
Once USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack formally declares a natural disaster for the requested parishes, benefits, in addition to crop insurance and Agriculture Risk Coverage/Price Loss Coverage, will be made available. Those benefits would include the Farm Service Agency’s (FSA) Emergency Loan Program to provide loans for producers to recover and rebuild from production and physical losses, and the Disaster Set-Aside Program to provide those producers with existing FSA loans, who are unable to make scheduled payments, the ability to defer up to one full year’s payment to the end of the loan.
Castille said, “USA Rice is working with the Louisiana Congressional delegation to explore options for additional disaster assistance to aid all residents affected by the storms. We’re identifying all opportunities to provide this much needed assistance and will certainly know more about the options available to producers once the full scope of the damage has been assessed.”
USDA is encouraging producers to document all costs associated with the damages, including photo documentation, and to make physical and digital copies of all records to ensure farms have the best chances of benefiting from the aid programs available.
For immediate needs, producers are asked to reach out to their insurance agents, other USDA service centers, and bankers before making major decisions or financial commitments following the disaster.
USA Rice will continue to provide updates and disaster assistance information as it becomes available.
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