Carolina Farmers Urged to Prepare for Hurricane Dorian

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reminds farmers and ranchers in the path of Hurricane Dorian that USDA has programs that provide assistance in the wake of disasters. USDA staff in regional, state, and county offices stand ready and are eager to help.

USDA developed a disaster assistance discovery tool specifically targeted to rural and agricultural issues, at The tool walks users through five questions that generate personalized results identifying which USDA disaster assistance programs can help them recover from a natural disaster.

Owners of meat and poultry producing businesses who have questions or concerns may contact the FSIS Small Plant Help Desk by phone at 1-877-FSIS-HELP (1-877-374-7435), by email at, or 24/7 online at

Protecting livestock during a disaster:

  • Plan for evacuation. Know how you will evacuate and where you will go. If it is not feasible to evacuate your livestock, be sure to provide a strong shelter and adequate food and water that will last them until you can return.

  • If you are planning to move livestock out of state, make sure to contact the state veterinarian’s office in the receiving state before you move any animals. You also may contact APHIS Veterinary Services state offices for information and assistance about protecting and moving livestock.
  • Listen to emergency officials. Evacuate if asked to do so.

Helping producers weather financial impacts of disasters:

When major disasters strike, USDA has an emergency loan program that provides eligible farmers low-interest loans to help them recover from production and physical losses. USDA’s emergency loan program is triggered when a natural disaster is designated by the saecretary of agriculture or a natural disaster or emergency is declared by the president under the Stafford Act. USDA also offers additional programs tailored to the needs of specific agricultural sectors to help producers weather the financial impacts of major disasters and rebuild their operations.

Livestock owners and contract growers who experience above-normal livestock deaths due to specific weather events, as well as to disease, may qualify for assistance under USDA’s Livestock Indemnity Program.

Livestock, honeybee, and farm-raised fish producers whose mechanically harvested or purchased livestock feed was physically damaged or destroyed, or who lost grazing acres or beehives due to an extreme weather event may qualify for assistance. Producers who suffer losses to or are prevented from planting agricultural commodities not covered by federal crop insurance may be eligible for assistance under USDA’s Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program if the losses were due to natural disasters and if coverage was previously purchased for the current crop year.

Orchardists and nursery tree growers may be eligible for assistance through USDA’s Tree Assistance Program to help replant or rehabilitate eligible trees, bushes, and vines damaged by natural disasters.

In the event of an emergency evacuation, producers are encouraged, to the extent possible, to gather all crop and livestock related records (e.g., herd records, inventory records, etc.) that may be required when filing a notice of loss for disaster assistance program benefits.

For more information on disaster recovery programs offered through USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), visit

Visit USDA’s disaster resources website to learn more about USDA disaster preparedness and response. For more information on USDA disaster assistance programs, please contact your local USDA Service Center. To find your local USDA Service Center, go to

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