The North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services received a $79.6 million USDA block grant to assist producers and woodland owners in 90 counties who suffered losses in 2018-2019 from Hurricanes Florence, Michael and Dorian. Eligible producers must have suffered a 15% loss.

The application period for Agricultural Disaster Recovery grants runs through Oct. 1.

This program will provide direct payments to eligible poultry, livestock and plasticulture producers. Assistance only involves losses that were not covered under other USDA disaster programs.

This program offers technical and financial assistance to woodland owners in the emergency-declared counties that were affected by these hurricanes. Comprehensive forest management plans will be offered to those landowners in order to assess the storm impacts to their woodlands and identify beneficial management recommendations.

“Eligibility requirements differ significantly between the agricultural and forestry categories of this block grant,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “I would encourage farmers and forest owners who think they may be eligible to check the online links for the agricultural applications or contact their local N.C. Forest Service County Ranger Office for the ‘Woodland Recovery’ component.”

Poultry, livestock and plasticulture producers will need a current and completed IRS W-9 form ready to scan into the application. Additionally, growers are encouraged to research and gather any evidence of poultry, swine structure damage and any damage evidence for plasticulture and greenhouses from those specific storms. They should be prepared to scan documents into the application for consideration of payment.

Details about the “Woodland Recovery” program will be available beginning mid-July by contacting a local N.C. Forest Service County Ranger’s office. A list of contacts can be found at https://www.ncforestservice.gov/contacts/contacts_main.htm

For more information, including links to the poultry/livestock and plasticulture applications, visit www.ncagr.gov/agdisasterprogram or call 1-919-707-3362.

Editor’s Note: This article was contributed by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Duplin Times may be reached at duplinnews@ncweeklies.com