USDA helps farmers, ranchers and communities affected by recent tornadoes

WASHINGTON, December 16, 2021 – The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced that assistance is available for communities and agricultural producers affected by tornadoes that ravaged Kentucky and five other states over the weekend.

“The devastation these tornadoes have brought to our hearts, the lives they have claimed and the communities and livelihoods affected are difficult to measure,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “As recovery efforts continue, I want everyone involved to know that USDA is here to help, and we will deploy all resources at our disposal to help families, communities and agricultural producers rebuild their communities. operations – as long as it takes. “

Food Safety Tips:

USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) helps affected residents take action to reduce their risk of foodborne illness when they return home after inclement weather.

  • Drink only bottled water that has not been in contact with contaminated water. Screw caps are not waterproof, so discard any bottled water that may have come in contact with contaminated water. If you don’t have bottled water, learn how to safely boil or sanitize water on the FSIS Consumer’s Guide to Food Safety: Severe Storms and Hurricanes webpage.
  • Throw away any food or drink that is not in an airtight container if there is a risk that it has come in contact with contaminated water. Containers with screw caps, snap-on lids, pull-on lids and crimp caps are not waterproof.
  • Do not eat food from dented cans. Undamaged and commercially prepared foods in all-metal cans and autoclave pouches such as juice or seafood pouches that are flexible and shelf stable can be preserved by following the steps outlined on the FSIS web page. Consumer’s Guide to Food Safety: Severe Storms and Hurricanes.
  • Thoroughly wash all metal pots, utensils, and ceramic dishes that have come in contact with contaminated water with hot, soapy water. Rinse them, then disinfect them by boiling them in clean water or submerging them for 15 minutes in a solution of one tablespoon of unscented liquid bleach per gallon of potable water.
  • Throw away any wooden cutting boards, plastic utensils, bottle nipples, and nipples that may have come in contact with contaminated water – they cannot be stored.

Risk management and disaster assistance for farms:

USDA offers several risk management and disaster assistance options to help growers recover from disasters such as tornadoes.

Even before disasters strike, USDA is providing tools for producers to manage their risks through the Federal Crop Insurance Program, a public-private partnership between the USDA’s risk management agency and companies and private agents. For crops for which no crop insurance is available, the Uninsured Agricultural Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) is available from the local agricultural service agency. This risk protection includes loss of crop production and loss of trees for certain crop insurance products. Growers should contact their crop insurance agent or the local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office for more information.

Growers who experience losses and are registered with Federal Crop Insurance or NAP are urged to report crop damage to their crop insurance agent or local FSA office, respectively, within 72 hours. following the discovery of the damage and a follow-up in writing within 15 days.

Livestock and perennial crop producers often have more limited risk management options, so there are several disaster programs for them. Key programs offered by FSA include:

It is also essential that producers keep accurate records to document damage or loss and report losses to their local USDA service center as soon as possible.

Additionally, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) can provide financial resources through its Environmental Quality Incentive Program to meet immediate needs and long-term support to help. recover from natural disasters and conserve water resources. The NRCS can also help local government sponsors cover the costs of recovery efforts such as debris removal and bank stabilization to address concerns and dangers of natural resources through the Emergency Protection Program. watersheds.

On, the Disaster Assistance Discovery Tool, the Disaster at-a-Glance Factsheet (PDF, 1.5MB), and the Farm Loan Discovery Tool can help producers and landowners determine program or loan options. For assistance with a crop insurance claim, growers and landowners should contact their crop insurance agent. For FSA and NRCS programs, they should contact their local USDA service center.

Support the long-term recovery of rural communities:

USDA Rural Development offers more than 50 programs to rural and tribal communities for the repair and upgrading of rural infrastructure, including drinking water and sanitation systems, solid waste management, electrical infrastructure, and essential community facilities such as as public security stations, health care centers and hospitals and educational institutions. Visit the USDA Rural Development Disaster Assistance page for more information.

Emergency nutritional assistance:

The USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) is also ready to work with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), as well as with requesting states and local authorities, to provide emergency nutrition assistance. and other nutrition program flexibilities to help those in need.

The USDA touches the lives of all Americans every day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris administration, the USDA is transforming the American food system with a greater emphasis on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe food, healthy and nutritious in all communities, creating new markets and income streams for farmers and producers using climate-smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in clean energy infrastructure and capacity in communities. rural America, and a commitment to equity department-wide by removing systemic barriers and creating a workforce that is more representative of America. To learn more, visit


The USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.

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