The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced the department will be offering wildfire assistance to farmers and ranchers. The assistance being provided is designed to help agricultural producers reestablish their operations after being impacted by the various wildfires burning through multiple states. In California alone, more than 1.5 million acres have burned in recent weeks, resulting in seven fatalities.
“Right now, more than 6,000 firefighters from the USDA Forest Service are battling wildfires across the nation alongside our local, state and federal partners,” USDA Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment, Jim Hubbard said in a news release. “Our aggressive initial attack efforts have proven incredibly proficient in protecting the American people and our lands as crews continue to face unrelenting challenges such as high winds and dry lightning.”
The wildfire assistance from USDA comes in many forms. The Disaster Resource Center has been created through a partnership between USDA and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The platform provides easy access to disaster-related resources, which helps producers identify which programs may be available to them. Farmers and ranchers affected by wildfire may be eligible for assistance through USDA’s emergency loan program, the Livestock Indemnity Program, or the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program.
“USDA is ready to offer all the assistance we can to the affected farmers, ranchers and communities to help them recover,” said USDA Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation Bill Northey. “As a farmer myself, I’m proud to be able to deliver on our most important mission to support them in their time of need.”
Wildfire assistance can also be obtained to help farming operations recover afterward. The Environmental Quality Incentives Program is available to provide financial resources to producers and the Emergency Conservation Program can help with rehabilitating farmland affected by natural disasters such as wildfire.