Nikki Fried shares information on disaster assistance for producers before the cold snap

Temperatures in the Panhandle can reach 25 degrees.

With a cold front on the horizon, the Commissioner for Agriculture Fried Nikki highlights various forms of federal assistance Florida growers can use if needed.

The reminder comes as Floridians brace for a record-breaking cold snap. According to the National Weather Service, the cold front is expected to cross Florida on Friday night. Fried urged producers to recheck their records and document any loss or damage. Common types of documentation include purchase records, production records, vaccination records, loan documents, and third-party certifications.

“I encourage all growers to prepare as best they can before the expected cold front, including being aware of potential disaster relief programs and their requirements,” Fried said in a statement. “Florida farmers are resilient in the face of many challenges, from a global pandemic to unfair foreign trade to extreme weather events, but we are grateful for the resources shared by our federal partners in the event of losses.”

Producers protected against risks thanks to Federal Crop Insurance or the Uninsured Agricultural Disaster Assistance Program must report the damage to an insurance agent or their local Farm Service Agency office. Contact, she said, must be made within 72 hours and a written follow-up must be submitted no later than 15 days.

Several other programs — the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) and Emergency Assistance Program for Livestock, Bees and Farmed Fish (ELAP) — can reimburse producers if they suffer losses after a natural disaster. Under the LIP and ELAP, producers must file a livestock or feed loss report within 30 days. Losses of bees must be reported within 15 days.

Moreover, the Emergency Conservation Program and Emergency Forest Restoration Program can financially assist landowners and forest stewards whose forests are damaged.

More information is available on USDA SIESTA, ELAP, LIP and FAUCET sheets. USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service can provide long-term support to producers after a natural disaster.

Temperatures in the Panhandle could reach 25 degrees this weekend.

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