USDA revealed that its staff across the US were “ready and eager” to help farmers as Hurricane Michael is expected to damage crops and cause a large number of livestock fatalities.
Hurricane Michael has been regarded as the third-strongest storm in recorded history to hit mainland US; it has already arrived in Florida and is expected to head north towards South and North Carolina.
As early as last month, Hurricane Florence swept through North Carolina and significantly impacted the meat industry in the area. As many as 3.4m chickens and turkeys, and 5,500 pigs were killed as a result of flooding.
USDA is expected to work with several of its agencies to ensure limited damage is caused by the natural disaster in comparison to other storms that have hit the US.
Producers have been urged to report crop damage within 72 hours of damage discovery and follow up in writing within 15 days.
“Hurricane Michael quickly grew into a dangerous storm, and residents within its path should heed the advice from their local authorities to ensure their safety,” said US secretary of agriculture Sonny Perdue. “All of USDA’s relevant agencies are ready to assist when natural disasters strike, and we will be there for our farmers and ranchers affected by this storm to get them the help they need.”
USDA recently launched a disaster assistance discovery tool through its new website Farmers.gov. This walks producers through five questions to help them identify personalised results and show which USDA disaster assistance program can help them recover after a natural disaster.