The North Carolina General Assembly on Nov. 29 passed the Hurricane Florence Supplemental Act (SB 823) which includes $240 million for the North Carolina Department of Agriculture Ag Disaster program.
The bill was passed unanimously by both chambers and is expected to be signed by Gov. Roy Cooper.
The program will directly assist farmers who suffered losses to commodities planted but not harvested before Sept. 13, 2018 and livestock. The North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will administer the program.
“With only two weeks left in the sign-up period, farmers cannot afford to wait to sign up for assistance,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler in a Nov. 29 news release. “The application process takes about 30 minutes per farm and assistance is available through N.C. Cooperative Extension and the NCDA&CS disaster hotline at 1-866-645-9403.”
The seven additional counties pending a federal disaster declaration include: Avery, Vance, Wake, Warren, Washington, Watauga and Yadkin counties. With this addition, 61 of the state’s 100 counties would have received either a primary Presidential or Secretarial-disaster declaration.
“Both Hurricane Florence and Tropical Storm Michael had significant impacts to agriculture,” said Troxler. “Without this immediate assistance, it will be difficult for many farmers to continue operations.”
Initial estimates for crop damage and livestock losses to North Carolina’s agriculture industry from Hurricane Florence are estimated at $1.1 billion.
To be eligible for assistance, farmers must sign up online by the Dec. 10 deadline. For more information and to apply, visit www.ncagr.gov/agriculturaldisasterprogram.