Officials are asking farmers to report their flood damage, to help secure disaster assistance for the state.

Recent rains are damaging a litany of farm resources, including agriculture buildings, equipment, crops, livestock, fences, service roads, and culverts. Robin Engel, spokesperson for the Ag department , says reporting your damage is just a first step on the road to recovery, not an application for assistance.

“We're asking farmers to think about anything that is damaging their ability to earn a living as a farmer.” That could be anything from an underwater tractor, to a washed out service road, gullies in the field and crop damage. Engel says the authorities will make the final decision as to what qualifies for assistance.

If certain counties are declared as agricultural disasters, there would be low-interest federal loans available, and Engel says just maybe they could get even more assistance. “It is possible that a broader presidential disaster declaration could be made if there is sufficient evidence to show that that is appropriate, in which case there would be grant money forthcoming.”

Engel says, so far, there's no way of knowing the total cost of crop damage. That's why they want farmers to call in with their damage reports.

With the storm wiping out the crops just before harvest, Engel says this is a very difficult time for a lot of people, many of whom are under emotional and financial stress. “We can offer, if nothing else, a listening ear and help put people in touch with what resources may be out there. We are a very generous state.”

Damage should be reported to both the county Farm Service Agency and the county emergency management office.

Farm Center Hotline: 1-800-942-2474

AUDIO: Jackie Johnson report (1:50 MP3)

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