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Help offered to help farmers with storm damage

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The Farm Service Agency is offering programs to assist eligible farmers facing storm damage.

Farmers facing storm damage are being asked to report their information to the Farm Service Agency.

Stephanie McCarthy-Wondercheck, executive director of the La Crosse County FSA with the USDA, said there are programs that producers may qualify for that can help cover loss whether it is livestock, feed or crops.

“Please let us know because even if you have a small loss and your neighbor has a small loss, all of those loses together can come together to still have a great impact on the county,” McCarthy-Wondercheck said.

Some farmers have already reported damage because of summer storms.

McCarthy-Wondercheck said if there is a physical loss determination throughout the county, the county may then be eligible for emergency loans for any loses that were suffered because of the storms.

A lot of the areas impacted in 2019 were also hit by storms last August and September.

“Unfortunately, our producers in our area are getting to know all too well how common natural disasters can be and how costly they can be to our operations,” McCarthy-Wondercheck said.

She added their program regulations and policies may seem intimidating, but the FSA does have staff that can help walk farmers through the process of reporting loses. Some of the disaster programs, however, require loses reported within 30 days of the incident.

One program offered to help includes the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP). LIP provides benefits if a producer has had any livestock losses due to storms.

If that is the case, FSA asks it be reported as quickly as possible with documentation that may include how many animals were on the farm prior to the disaster, as well as how many were lost. Any other documents such as veterinarian or insurance records are also good resources to share.

McCarthy-Wondercheck said they also have Emergency Assistance for Livestock (ELAP).

She said farmers who lost pasture, damaged fences or debris on pasture, that prevented animal grazing, may be eligible for benefits through ELAP.

Once again, the program requires appropriate documentation.

Lastly, there is also a Livestock Forage Program (LFP) that could possibly help if stored feed was lost or damaged during a storm.

McCarthy-Wondercheck said they will be taking reports from producers, populating the data and submitting requests for physical loss determination.

Kaitlyn Riley’s passion for communications started on her family’s dairy farm in Gays Mills, Wis. Wanting to share agriculture’s story, she studied strategic communications and broadcast journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In college, she held officer positions with the Association of Women in Agriculture and Badger Dairy Club while volunteering as a news reporter for the college radio station. She also founded the university’s first agricultural radio talk show, AgChat. In her professional career, Kaitlyn has worked in radio, print and television news doing everything from covering local events to interviewing presidential candidates, and putting back on her barn boots to chat with farmers in the field. Today, Kaitlyn can be seen covering local stories that matter to you in the La Crosse area.

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