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Flood relief money for farm losses becomes law

Starting Nov. 6, farmers in Henderson, Buncombe, Haywood, Rutherford and Transylvania counties will be able to sign up for flood relief payments through the state's Agricultural Disaster Program.

The sign-up period runs from Nov. 6 to Nov. 20.

The money was contained in the overall budget that Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed but state Rep. Chuck McGrady and Sen. Chuck Edwards the appropriation was in a mini-budget that became law after the House and the Senate adopted it.

The program will directly assist farmers who suffered losses to commodities, livestock, poultry and aquaculture because of excessive rain and flooding that occurred from May 15 through Dec. 31, 2018. The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will administer the program.

“Farmers need to take action now to get their Farm Service Agency forms in order so they will have the necessary documents to apply for assistance," said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. "I cannot stress enough that producers need to file their applications during the sign-up period. There will be no extensions to this deadline.”

Producers in these five counties who experienced a verifiable crop loss as a result of excessive rain and flooding that occurred during the time period, will need to go to their local United States Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency office to file the necessary paperwork for FSA Form 578. This is a required document in the application process for producers who experienced loss with apples, corn for grain, grass, tomatoes or other field crops.

Producers without a 2018 FSA Form 578 on file can request a manual form at their local USDA Service Center/FSA Office. Please start this process as soon as possible. It could take up to 30 days to complete.

For application instructions and access to the application portal, go to www.ncagr.gov/agriculturaldisasterprogram<http://www.ncagr.gov/agriculturaldisasterprogram>. Local FSA and Cooperative Extension offices will be available to assist farmers with applications. For more information, visit www.ncagr.gov/agriculturaldisasterprogram<http://www.ncagr.gov/agriculturaldisasterprogram> or call 1-866-645-9403.