Farm owners should immediately report damage to local FSA

California farmers and ranchers affected by the floods and other natural disasters must act quickly to report their losses and potential losses.

Todd Fitchette, Associate Editor

March 24, 2023

2 Min Read
Flooding in California
Farmers affected by flooding should immediately contact their local FSA office and file a notice of loss with the agency. This will open a file that can be used for disaster assistance.Todd Fitchette

California farmers and ranchers affected by the floods and other natural disasters must act quickly to report their losses and potential losses if they want to have the greatest success with insurance and disaster claims.

Aubrey Bettencourt, CEO of the Almond Alliance of California, is advising her members to immediately do three things:

Call your local FSA office and file a notice of loss. Bettencourt says this is crucial to starting a file for claims and government assistance.

Report losses to the local county agricultural commissioner’s office. This information will be collected and passed up to the California Department of Food and Agriculture and the USDA for potential state and disaster designations.

Contact your local insurance agent. It will be important for all three to have photo and video documentation of the damage and losses.

Bettencourt, who as the California State FSA director from 2017 to 2019, said that once a disaster file is opened on a farm, additional information can be added to it. Keep the local FSA office appraised of additional losses.

“If you experience more damage, you can add this to your file,” Bettencourt said.

County agricultural commissioners across California typically gather information on crop damage and losses during events such as freezes, according to Tom Tucker, agricultural commissioner for Tulare County. Systems are already in place for these officials to gather disaster damages to share with state and federal offices as part of their government role.

As for pressing disaster needs, such as places to move livestock because of flooding, local counties and Farm Bureau organizations can be the quickest means to learning where the relief centers are for livestock and humans.

Some counties, like Tulare County in the southern San Joaquin Valley, have websites that folks can visit to get information on evacuation sites, where to take livestock affected by flood water, and report other issues.

Tulare County is requiring those with large livestock needing to be evacuated to submit a housing request form.

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About the Author(s)

Todd Fitchette

Associate Editor, Western Farm Press

Todd Fitchette, associate editor with Western Farm Press, spent much of his journalism career covering agriculture in California and the western United States. Aside from reporting about issues related to farm production, environmental regulations and legislative matters, he has extensive experience covering the dairy industry, western water issues and politics. His journalistic experience includes local daily and weekly newspapers, where he was recognized early in his career as an award-winning news photographer.

Fitchette is US Army veteran and a graduate of California State University, Chico. 

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