PAMPA, TX (KFDA) - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is offering federal funding to help fire-affected farmers and ranchers in the Texas Panhandle.
"USDA Farm Service Agency does offer a variety of disaster assistance programs, particularly in the case of these three fires we are offering programs for livestock, feed and fencing loses," said Amanda Cook, Farm Service Agency District Director.
Though these services are available through the Farm Service Agency (FSA), USDA officials say many producers are unaware of this help.
In an effort to help these producers quickly, the FSA has requested more state representatives to those affected counties to make sure anyone suffering from a significant loss can get assistance before deadlines approach.
"I'm sure they are all under significant amount of stress in this recovery effort," Cook said. "We have had a fair number of producers who have contacted our offices to file these notices of loss but there are more out there that are going to need help that we haven't heard from yet. So, we are anxious to get the word out that these programs are available to them."
The FSA can assist producers who have lost livestock, grazing land and fences throughout the course of the recent fires at little to no cost.
Cook says the Livestock Indemnity Program is one that will be able to give significant relief to producers who have lost a large number of cattle to the fires and the FSA will pay up to 75 percent of the average fair market value of the animals lost.
Along with this service, the FSA also has the Emergency Conservation Program, which helps fund repairs to farmland structures or fences and help install methods for water conservation.
The Emergency Assistance for Livestock (ELAP) will cover losses of stored feed or grazing lands.
But before receiving any funding, Cook warns that producers must document all losses before disposing of damages or dead livestock and must submit this information to the USDA or the FSA by 30 days of when the damage was done.
"For producers who are in need of assistance, we need them contact their local office as soon as possible and we can direct them to the sufficient program that will aid them the best and be sure that they will not miss any deadlines," said Cook.
For more information about these services and who to contact, visit the USDA website.
The FSA will also be holding a meeting for producers impacted on March 16 in the Hemphill County Exhibition Center in Canadian, TX at 6 p.m.
The public is invited to learn more about the assistance programs and will also be able to receive more resources from AgriLife, the Texas Farm Bureau and the Natural Resources Conservation Service.