A healthy farm or ranch is nothing without a healthy you.
As any farmer or rancher can tell you, farm life can be demanding and stressful. It has reached a critical stage with pandemic impacts on top of natural disasters, extreme weather events, financial pressures due to fluctuating commodity prices, labor shortages, trade disruptions and other factors over the past several years. Given these ongoing challenges, it’s no surprise that more farmers and farm families are experiencing stress and mental health concerns.
If you or someone you know is struggling with anxiety, depression or another mental health challenge, you are not alone. Check out the following resources and follow #FarmStateofMind on social media to show your support. A healthy farm or ranch is nothing without a healthy you.
American Farm Bureau’s Farm State of Mind website has a large number of tips and helpful resources for you to use. Please click here for more information.
Storm Impacts and Disaster Assistance
USDA Disaster Assistance for Farmers
The USDA has issued a Secretarial natural disaster declaration for Tropical Storm Elsa that impacted the areas of Kent and Providence County Rhode Island. This Secretarial natural disaster designation allows the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) to extend much-needed emergency credit to producers recovering from natural disasters through emergency loans [fsa.usda.gov]. Emergency loans can be used to meet various recovery needs including the replacement of essential items such as equipment or livestock, reorganization of a farming operation or the refinance of certain debts. FSA will review the loans based on the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability.
Impacted Area: Connecticut
Triggering Disaster Event: Tropical Storm Elsa that occurred from July 9 through July 23, 2021
Application Deadline: May 2, 2022
Primary Counties Eligible: Hartford, Litchfield, Middlesex, New Haven, Tolland and Windham
Contiguous Counties Also Eligible:
Connecticut: Fairfield and New London
Massachusetts: Berkshire, Hampden and Worcester
New York: Dutchess
Rhode Island: Kent and Providence
On farmers.gov [farmers.gov], the Disaster Assistance Discovery Tool [farmers.gov], Disaster Assistance-at-a-Glance fact sheet [farmers.gov], and Farm Loan Discovery Tool [farmers.gov] can help you determine program or loan options. To file a Notice of Loss or to ask questions about available programs, contact your local USDA Service Center [farmers.gov].
Flooded Crops: Food Safety and Crop Loss Issues – A helpful factsheet from UMASS Extension
If you have sustained agricultural losses and or damage due to storms, the RI Farm Service Agency (FSA) encourages producers to take photos and contact them as soon as possible to document any damage caused by the storm. They have a number of programs that may be able to help producers depending on the type of damage received.
Farm Service Agency Programs:
- Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) helps farmers and ranchers repair damage to farmlands caused by natural disasters and helps put in place water conservation methods during severe drought. Learn more about ECP.
- Emergency Forest Restoration Program (EFRP) helps owners of non-industrial private forests restore forest health damaged by natural disasters. Learn more about EFRP.
- Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) provides benefits to livestock producers for livestock deaths in excess of normal mortality caused by adverse weather or by attacks by animals reintroduced into the wild by the federal government. Learn more about LIP.
- Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish (ELAP) provides emergency assistance to eligible producers of livestock, honeybees and farm-raised fish for losses due to disease (including cattle tick fever), adverse weather, or other conditions, such as blizzards and wildfires, not covered by LFP and LIP. Learn more about ELAP.
- Emergency Loan Program provides loans to help producers recover from production and physical losses due to drought, flooding, other natural disasters, or quarantine by animal quarantine laws or imposed by the Secretary under the Plant Protection Act.
- Disaster Set-Aside Program provides producers who have existing direct loans with FSA who are unable to make the scheduled payments to move up to one full year’s payment to the end of the loan. Assistance is available in counties, or contiguous counties, who have been designated as emergencies by the President, Secretary or FSA Administrator.
- Noninsured Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) pays covered producers of covered non-insurable crops when low yields, loss of inventory, or prevented planting occur due to natural disasters (includes native grass for grazing). Eligible producers must have purchased NAP coverage for the current crop year. Learn more about NAP.
- Tree Assistance Program (TAP) provides financial assistance to qualifying orchardists and nursery tree growers to replant or rehabilitate eligible trees, bushes, and vines damaged by natural disasters. Learn more about TAP.
- The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is a voluntary program that provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers through contracts up to a maximum term of ten years in length. Learn more about EQIP
- The Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) Program, a federal emergency recovery program, helps local communities recover after a natural disaster strikes. The program offers technical and financial assistance to help local communities relieve imminent threats to life and property caused by floods, fires, windstorms and other natural disasters that impair a watershed. Learn more about EWP.
For the Risk Management Agency, producers should be in contact with their crop insurance providers.
Our USDA Agency contact information is as follows;
- RI NRCS Field Office: 401-828-1300
- RI FSA County Office: 401-828-3120 Option 2.
- RI FSA Farm Loan Team: 401-828-3120 Option 3.
Advice on Storm Prep for
those with Livestock
From Dr. Scott Marshall, RI State Veterinarian
- ANIMAL DISASTER / ANIMAL CARE PLAN links to the State of Rhode Island’s Animal Disaster/ Animal Care Plan. While most people will be able to evacuate ahead of a storm, farmers will likely have to shelter in place. There is plenty of good information in this plan on both evacuation and sheltering in place.
Some of the most relevant individual sheets from the above link that apply to livestock are:
If you need help or have a problem in regards to the storm and your animals, please call Heidi (RIFB) at 401-385-3339 (or during a storm/after hours you may try 401-602-5378) to be put in contact with Dr. Marshall (RIDEM).
EMERGENCY & DISASTER PREPAREDNESS from Grainger
What are your business continuity plans in the face of a catastrophic event? From pandemic response to weathering severe storms and recovering after a natural disaster, here’s a collection of measures to help bolster your emergency and disaster preparedness efforts.