Jackson Co Cotton blown on the ground by Hurricane Michael

Jackson County cotton field with harvested cotton averaging 1800 pounds/acre on the right verses defoliated cotton blown to the ground and destroyed by wind from Hurricane Michael on the left. Credit: Doug Mayo UF/IFAS

Dr. Michael J. Mulvaney and Dr. David L. Wright, Cropping Systems Specialists, UF/IFAS

In response to requests for information about post-hurricane mitigation for producers in the Florida Panhandle, this statement is meant to serve as a starting point for farmers and Extension professionals seeking information about immediate steps to take after hurricane damage to farm operations.

  1. Document the damage. Timely, good documentation of damage is the first thing needed. Timely photos with timestamps (as soon as it’s safe to do so, before clean-up) of damage to fences, conservation structures, trees/windbreaks, irrigation systems, farm machinery, and equipment, along with estimates of yield loss (compared with historical yields), etc. will be critical for insurance and assistance claims. Yield loss can be documented if any harvest was done prior to the damage, and also attempting to harvest after the damage occurred. An affidavit may be necessary.
  2. Contact your crop insurance agent. Many cotton fields may be zeroed out while other fields may have enough cotton left to make harvest
    profitable.
  3. Contact the FSA. Your county Farm Service Agency is your first point of contact for assistance. Since available assistance and programs will vary
    by county, your county FSA will have the most up-to-date information available to you in your area. Visit them as soon as possible so that you
    know the documentation that will be required for your claims.
  4. Attend a Disaster Assistance Information Meeting. These are scheduled by the FSA for the following counties:

    • Washington County – November 6, 2018, 9-11 a.m.
      First Baptist Church Sanctuary
      1300 South Blvd, Chipley, FL 32428
    • Jackson County –  November 6, 2018, 2-4 p.m.
      Jackson County Extension Office
      2741 Penn Ave., Marianna, FL 32448
    • Calhoun County – November 7, 2018, 9-11 a.m.
      Rivertown Community Church Sanctuary
      19359 SR 71 North, Blountstown, Florida 32424
    • Gadsden County – November 7, 2018, 2-4 p.m.
      FAMU Research and Extension Center
      4259 Bainbridge Highway, Quincy, Florida 32352

Disaster assistance programs can be found here:
https://www.farmers.gov/recover

A simple tool to find which programs apply to you can be found here:
https://www.farmers.gov/recover/disaster-assistancetool#step-1

Michael Mulvaney

Cropping Systems Specialist, University of Florida, West Florida Research and Education Center, Jay, FL. Follow me @TheDirtDude