The tornadoes that ripped through Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Arkansas, Iowa, Indiana and Wisconsin in March have left farmers and ranchers reeling in their wake. Although there is no way to comprehend the challenges you’re facing, we hope the following guidance and resources will help in your recovery process. While some assistance channels have come online immediately, more will emerge over time. We will update the resources listed below as they become available.
First of all, please be sure to document all damage before you start the clean up process. Disaster assistance programs only cover damage that has been proven. The adage “Camera first, chainsaw second” will save you time, energy and money in the long run. Disaster Recovery Resource for Farmers from Rural Advancement Foundation International-USA (RAFI-USA) is an excellent source of vital information. Consider it your road map to recovery.
Second, if your farm or ranch was affected by the tornadoes, be sure to contact your county Farm Service Agency (FSA) office immediately. Some of the many USDA disaster assistance programs require notification within 30 to 60 days in order to qualify. Your local FSA office will also be able to provide you with the appropriate application forms for relevant programs. Completing this online Disaster Assistance Discover Tool can offer some idea of programs that might be available to you. You can learn more about the USDA’s Disaster Assistance programs here. If you would like to read additional information about USDA Disaster Assistance programs check out this page on RAFI-USA’s website, or the chart on this document outlining government programs such as LIP, ECP, and ELAP. If you sustained crop or livestock losses and have crop or livestock insurance, be sure to contact your insurance agent immediately as well.
Third, be sure to take advantage of the hotlines established for situations exactly like what you are currently experiencing.
- RAFI-USA’s Farmer Crisis Hotline is available Monday-Friday from 9am–6pm for folks in crisis. If you are in danger of losing your farm and/or home, you may be in need of more in-depth assistance from one of their farmer advocates. Call 1-866-586-6746 to explore your options.
- The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)’s Disaster Distress Hotline is administered by U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services and is dedicated to providing immediate crisis counseling for people who are experiencing emotional distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster. Available 24/7 at 1-800-985-5990.
- And of course, our Farm Aid Farmer Services team is available through a number of channels:
- If you prefer one-on-one support, our Farm Aid Hotline is open Mondays through Fridays from 9am – 9pm ET; 1-800-FARM-AID (1-800-327-6243). While crisis assistance is understandably front of mind at this time, remember that our team is here to assist you with essentially any situation or need you have. Si necesita hablar con el equipo de servicios directamente, llámenos al 1-800-FARM-AID (1-800-327-6243). La línea directa en español está disponible de lunes a viernes de 9am – 5pm hora del este.
- You can also submit an online Request for Assistance form and one of our team members will respond promptly via email.
- Or feel free to explore our Farmer Resource Network, a free search tool that can be used to find organizations and resources that are useful.
We stand with you as you find your path forward amidst such devastation. Please don’t hesitate to reach out for assistance and make sure to check back as more support comes online.
Resources for Farmers and Ranchers Affected by Recent Tornadoes
View the resources below, or click here to view this on Google Sheets.
We work to keep this page up-to-date. If you know of additional resources you can share with us, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call our hotline at 1-800-FARM-AID.