Farm Service Agency documents tornado damage
On June 18, the day after tornado event that shook the east half of Otter Tail County, I traveled the entire storm route by vehicle. Starting in the Parkers Prairie area then traveling north 37 miles, I finally came to the end of the destruction. I traveled every east/west road on the northerly route, documenting the destruction and the storm route by GPS and camera.
There are no words that can accurately describe the combination of what is seen and the emotions that ensue. I won't try to explain what so many of our friends and family have endured. But after a whole day of touring it was not the destruction that left me in awe. It was the people.
From the beginning west of Parkers Prairie through Almora, Deer Creek, and Bluffton, to the end in the northeast, I saw people helping people. Family, friends, neighbors, and strangers working side by side left me more in awe than all of the storm's destruction.
There is no government agency that can replicate what you did and continue to do for yourselves. There is no unit of government that can work as efficiently, effectively, or as passionately as you. And that is why this is one of the greatest places in the world to live. The people make this area another great wonder of the world.
So, why document the storm event? The Farm Service Agency is delegated the responsibility to document all agriculture related disaster events. The information compiled will be sent to USDA in Washington to justify a Presidential or Secretarial Disaster Declaration. The documentation includes physical losses such as buildings and equipment as well as livestock and crop losses.
The County Emergency Board uses the information to create a loss assessment value that is included in the overall report to USDA. This information is what initiates low interest loans and crop and livestock loss programs that are available through the Farm Service Agency.
By 5 p.m. on June 18, the report that makes these programs happen was submitted from USDA in Perham to USDA in Washington. For now, farmers should keep track of all losses of any type. Buildings, equipment, crops, livestock, and cleanup costs should be recorded now so that it is available later. The Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) is already available so documented livestock losses can be reported to FSA now.
No one can help you as well as you can help yourself, but FSA is here to help in any way we can. We want to know how you are doing so please don't hesitate to call us at 218-346-4260 ext.2.