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Farmers urged to sign up by Dec. 10 deadline for disaster assistance

Farmers with damage and agricultural losses from Hurricane Florence and Tropical Storm Michael may be eligible for disaster assistance from the Hurricane Florence Agricultural Disaster Program of 2018. The $240 million bill, signed today by Gov. Roy Cooper, will provide direct assistance to farmers. The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will administer the program.

Farmers in counties with a federal primary Presidential or Secretarial-disaster declaration are eligible to apply. To date, 54 of the state’s 100 counties have received this designation, with an additional seven counties pending USDA approval.

“This assistance is available to farmers who suffered crop losses including apples, barley, corn, cotton, hay, industrial hemp, nursery crops, specialty crops, tobacco, peanuts, sweet potatoes, livestock, aquaculture and more,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “The list of what is covered by this assistance is long, the best thing to do is call the NCDA&CS disaster assistance hotline at 1-866-645-9403 with any of your questions.”

If the agricultural or aquaculture commodity was planted, not harvested, on or before Sept. 13, 2018 in an eligible county then the producer is eligible for assistance. “We know some farmers may not know the extent of damage yet,” said Troxler. “Growers of nursery crops, fruit-bearing trees and bushes, and specialty crops may request to extend their deadline to May 1, 2019 and livestock and poultry producers may request to extend until March 1, 2019. This extension must be requested in the online application due on Dec. 10.

“Farmers need to make this a priority. The goal is to provide disaster assistance funding shortly after the first of the year. Farmers should only need about 30 minutes per farm to enter their information in the online form,” Troxler said.

For more information, including a section with many frequently-asked questions, visit ncagr.gov/agriculturedisasterprogram or call the NCDA&CS disaster assistance hotline.

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