Tag Archives: Disaster

LINCOLN, NEB. – It is the one-year anniversary (March 13-14) of one of the most disastrous storms to ravage the state in recent history, causing unprecedented flooding for farmers, ranchers, and rural communities. Nebraska Farm Bureau was there to help, creating the Nebraska Farm Bureau Disaster Relief Fund and collecting $3.4 million to help restore health and safety to individuals and livestock on farms and ranches and in rural communities. One hundred percent of the donations have been distributed, with zero administrative fees charged.

“My calves were surrounded by water, standing there bawling for help. I felt helpless. But Farm Bureau got us hay for two and a half months. They lined up hay, feed, fencing supplies, veterinary supplies to help my sick calves. It was unbelievable what they did for us! I can’t say enough thanks to Farm Bureau for that,” said Tom Geisler who farms with his wife Fran outside of Hooper.

In Spencer, ice chunks 10 to 12 feet high, some the size of cars, took out the Spencer Dam and caused catastrophic damage to the Ruzicka farm, where Willard and his son Anthony, raise cattle near Verdigre. It also took out the water lines in Boyd County where half to two-thirds of county residents were served by the Boyd County Rural Water District. The Nebraska Farm Bureau Disaster Relief Fund helped Ruzicka’s to rebuild, brought water to residents of Spencer and Verdigre, and helped restore the water lines in Boyd County. These are some of the people and places that were able to receive help from the money collected by the Nebraska Farm Bureau Disaster Relief Fund.

“Our regional managers worked side-by-side with Nebraska farmers and ranchers and rural communities to help aid those affected by the challenging weather season. The generosity of people who wanted to help financially or just volunteer their time for clean-up was overwhelming. More than 6,000 individuals and companies donated to the fund. Volunteers have given countless hours of time transporting hay, feed, and veterinary supplies for Nebraska farmers and ranchers who had nowhere else to turn. While we hope this fund will not be needed in the future, we are glad to have a mechanism in place at Nebraska Farm Bureau to provide help to farmers and ranchers when it is needed the most. We stand ready and thank those who supported the flood relief efforts. You truly made a difference for so many individuals,” said Steve Nelson, Nebraska Farm Bureau, president.

The fund was established at the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation, a nonprofit organization with the ability to manage donations and relief distributions. The number of requests coming into the Disaster Relief Fund were overwhelming.

“We received a total of $35 million in unmet need requests to the Nebraska Farm Bureau Disaster Relief Fund. Private gifts were critical to meeting the needs of those affected by the storms, especially the necessities needed immediately following the storms. We sent out our final disaster checks early this month to close the fund. We’re pleased to have worked with so many generous people and organizations in Nebraska and across the county who donated to the Nebraska Farm Bureau Disaster Relief Fund,” said Megahn Schafer, executive director of the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation.

Needs reported from relief applicants included debris removal; repair of personal property, including homes; fencing and feed for livestock; veterinary expenses; farm equipment and increased transportation costs due destruction of roads and bridges.

For Tom and Fran Geisler, Nebraska Farm Bureau helped them get through this difficult time.

“I don’t know if Tom would have made it through without Farm Bureau. They were right there on our doorstep after this disaster. They just came through for us,” Fran Geisler said.

WASHINGTON— The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced updates to the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP). These updates include changes required by the 2018 Farm Bill as well as discretionary changes intended to improve the administration of the program and clarify existing program requirements.

“Honeybee producers should pay close attention to the ELAP program changes to ensure they meet the new deadline requirements,” said FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce. “These changes better align two key disaster assistance program deadlines to provide consistency and ease of management for honeybee producers.”

Program Changes

ELAP was previously administered based on FSA’s fiscal year but will now run according to the calendar year. Producers are still required to submit an application for payment within 30 calendar days of the end of the program year. This is not a policy change but will affect the deadline. The signup deadline for calendar year 2020 losses is January 30, 2021.

Starting in 2020, producers will have 15 days from when the loss is first apparent, instead of 30 days, to file a honeybee notice of loss. This change provides consistency between ELAP and the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program, which also has a 15-day notice of loss period for honey. For other covered losses, including livestock feed, grazing and farm-raised fish losses, the notice of loss deadline for ELAP will remain 30 days from when the loss is first apparent to the producer.

Program participants who were paid for the loss of a honeybee colony or hive in either or both of the previous two years will be required to provide additional documentation to substantiate how current year inventory was acquired.

If the honeybee colony loss incurred was because of Colony Collapse Disorder, program participants must provide a producer certification that the loss was a direct result of at least three of the five symptoms of Colony Collapse Disorder, which include:

  • the loss of live queen and/or drone bee populations inside the hives;
  • rapid decline of adult worker bee population outside the hives, leaving brood poorly or completely unattended;
  • absence of dead adult bees inside the hive and outside the entrance of the hive;
  • absence of robbing collapsed colonies; and
  • at the time of collapse, varroa mite and Nosema populations are not at levels known to cause economic injury or population decline.

About the Program

For honeybees, ELAP covers colony losses, honeybee hive losses (the physical structure) and honeybee feed losses in instances where the colony, hive or feed has been destroyed by a natural disaster or, in the case of colony losses, because of Colony Collapse Disorder. Colony losses must be in excess of normal mortality.

ELAP also provides emergency assistance to eligible producers of livestock and farm-raised fish including for feed and grazing losses. It covers losses because of eligible adverse weather or loss conditions, including blizzards and wildfires on federally managed lands. ELAP also covers losses resulting from the cost of transporting water to livestock due to an eligible drought.

More Information

For more information on ELAP visit farmers.gov/recover or contact your FSA County Office. To locate your local FSA office, visit farmers.gov/service-locator.