MDA urges farmers with storm damage to take advantage of assistance programs
As recovery efforts continue following the destructive outbreak of tornadoes around the state, Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner Gene Hugoson is urging farmers to take advantage of the available assistance programs.
"We're hearing about farms with serious damage, including dead livestock, damaged farm buildings and debris strewn across fields," Commissioner Hugoson said. "We want those farmers to know they don't have to deal with this all by themselves. We are ready to help."
Minnesota Farmer Assistance Network provides financial guidance, technical assistance, legal advice and other forms of assistance to farm families facing serious challenges. MFAN connects farmers with resources to address their human service needs, including 24-hour crisis counseling through Crisis Connection. There is no cost to farmers for MFAN assistance. Farmers can access MFAN by calling the toll-free helpline, (877) 898-MFAN. www.mda.state.mn.us/mfan.
A Disaster Recovery Loan Program helps farmers pay for the cost of clean-up and removal of debris, lost seed or other crop inputs (including machinery repair), feed and livestock when damaged by high winds, hail, tornado or flood and not covered by insurance. More information about this and other forms of financial assistance can be found on the MDA website at www.mda.state.mn.us.
Farm Advocates provide one-on-one assistance for Minnesota farmers who face crisis caused by either a natural disaster or financial problems. Farm Advocates are trained and experienced in agricultural lending practices, mediation, lender negotiation, farm programs, crisis counseling, and disaster programs. There is no charge or fee for Farm Advocate assistance. To get more details, call Bruce Lubitz at (218) 346-4866 or visit MDA's website at www.mda.state.mn.us/about/commissionersoffice/farmadvocates.aspx.
State agriculture officials are working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency and local officials to assess agriculture-related losses. As this assessment proceeds, MDA will update farmers and agribusinesses on the various forms of assistance available to them. In the meantime, MDA is working with state, local and federal partners to help local residents deal with the immediate problems.
MDA will continue to provide information about storm recovery and assistance on its website. Farmers needing urgent assistance in dealing with a chemical release or other public safety issue can reach help through the Minnesota Duty Officer at (800) 422-0798.