Richland recovering from week-long ice storm
Richland Parish is digging out from the ice storm which froze the parish for almost a week.
“We experienced a very difficult time last week with the highly abnormal winter freeze,” Richland Parish Chamber of Commerce chairman Scott Franklin said. “I know many of you in Richland Parish went a long time without power and/or water, plus many in the agriculture industry experienced damage to property and livestock. With that said, we have been asked to pass along a survey for the state of Louisiana to account for property damage from the storm.”
Franklin explained the survey is not an application for relief and filling it out does not entitle you to recovery.
“However, I can tell you that in these circumstances, the squeaky wheel gets greased,” Franklin said. “It is vitally important for you to address this survey if you incurred loss or damage. We want the state and federal government to be aware of every loss case in Richland Parish.”
The survey can be found at: https://damage.la.gov.
“Please have anyone and everyone with any type of damages to report it,” Richland will need to meet our threshold in order to qualify for any assistance,” Richland Parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness director Dawn Williams said. “I ask for your help to push out on your social media.”
In the meantime, Gov. John Bel Edwards has requested emergency relief from the federal government and that request has been granted. Filling out the survey is one way to make sure the government is aware of the level and magnitude of damage in Richland Parish.
Louisiana Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry Mike Strain is also urging all agricultural producers impacted by the severe winter weather to document losses.
“While no secretarial disaster designation has been declared at this time, an accurate account of any crops and livestock that are lost is vital in the event insurance claims are necessary or federal assistance through the U.S. Department of Agriculture is made available,” Strain said.
Documentation includes: photos and videos of losses, purchase records, production records, vaccination records, bank or other loan documents and third-party certification.
The Farm Service Agency has a variety of loans available including emergency loans that are triggered by disaster declarations and operating loans that can assist producers.
Producers who signed up for Federal Crop Insurance or the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program and who suffer losses are asked to report crop damage to their crop insurance agent or local FSA office within 72 hours of damage discovery and follow up in writing within 15 days.
Livestock and perennial crop producers often have more limited risk management options available, but there are disaster programs available to them. Key programs include the Livestock Indemnity Program and Emergency Assistance for Livestock which reimburse producers for a portion of the value of their livestock, poultry and other animals.
The Tree Assistance Program provides cost share assistance to rehabilitate or replant and clean-up damage to trees, vines or shrubs.
To learn more about USDA disaster assistance programs, contact your local FSA office.