Emergency Money for Farm and Business Owners Impacted by Hurricane Michael

Emergency Money for Farm and Business Owners Impacted by Hurricane Michael

Workers clearing debris

FCA Fence crew volunteers cleared debris to restore fences along highways in Jackson County. Photo credit: Doug Mayo, UF/IFAS Extension

Over the past month every business in the impact zone of Hurricane Michael has felt the anguish of anticipating large expenses that no one had budgeted for.  There are a wide range of disaster programs to support both small businesses and farming operations.  One of the greatest challenges, however, is the immediate need for cash to get an operation going again.  For farmers, the are several disaster programs that provide 75% cost share on things like debris removal, livestock fence repair, and timber planting.  The challenge is that you have to pay the expenses first and then turn in the receipts for reimbursement.  Whether you need to hire extra labor, contractors, rent special equipment, or make immediate purchases, you may need some cash to get started while you secure the longer-term financing needed to cover theses unexpected expenses.  All of the recovery tasks seem overwhelming, but at least there are a number of agencies available to provide assistance.  The hard part is making sure people are aware wide range of services that are available to help with disaster recovery.  Thus the point of this article, there is a new program available for a short period of time worth getting more information about.

On October 12, Governor Scott activated the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program:

The Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program supports small businesses impacted by Hurricane Michael. The bridge loan program, managed by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), will provide short-term, interest-free loans to small businesses that experienced physical or economic damage during Hurricane Michael. The application period runs through December 7, 2018.

Governor Scott said, “The damage we have seen from Hurricane Michael is indescribable and unprecedented for the Panhandle. We are aggressively working to restore power in these communities so that our small businesses can get back on their feet. We will do everything we can to help our small businesses – that truly are the heart of the Panhandle. The small business bridge loan program will help small business owners and communities get back up and running and I encourage all affected business owners to apply today.”

DEO administers the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program in partnership with the Florida SBDC Network to provide cash flow to businesses damaged by a disaster. The short-term, interest-free loans help bridge the gap between the time damage is incurred and when a business secures other financial resources, including payment of insurance claims or longer-term Small Business Administration loans. Up to $10 million has been allocated for the program.

Key points of the Florida Emergency Bridge Loans:
  • For small business up to 100 employees
  • $25,000 per eligible small business with fewer than 2 employees
  • $50,000 per eligible small business with 2 to 100 employees.  Loans of up to $100,000 may be made in special cases as warranted by the need of the eligible small business.
  • Have one year to repay loan
  • Only one loan per business
  • 0% interest if repaid with in a year.   12% interest on the unpaid balance thereafter, until balance is paid in full.
  • Applications will be accepted through December 7, 2018
  • 7-10 day approval period

Sources for more information about this program:

Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program

FL Emergency Bridge Loan application form

Call the Florida Small Business Development Center Network – 866-737-7232

Vsit the FEMA Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) near you:

Bay County – DRC #11 – Bay County Public Library 898 W 11th Street, Panama City, FL 32401
Bay County – DRC # 13 – John B. Gore Park 530 Beulah Avenue, Callaway, FL 32404
Calhoun County – DRC #10 – Sam Atkins Park NW Silas Green Street, Blountstown, FL 32424
Franklin County – DRC #2 – Carrabelle Public Library 311 St. James Ave, Carrabelle, FL 32322
Gadsden County – DRC #7 – Old Gretna Elementary School 706 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Gretna, FL 32332
Gulf County – DRC #9 – Port St. Joe Library 110 Library Drive, Port St. Joe, FL 32456
Gulf County – DRC #12 Wewahitchka Town Hall 211 Hwy 71, Wewahitchka, FL 32465
Holmes County – DRC #5 – Holmes County Agricultural Center 1169 US 90, Bonifay, FL 32425
Jackson County – DRC #3 – Jackson County Extension Office 2737 Penn Ave, Marianna, FL 32448
Jackson County – Jackson County Mobile DRC Route 6910 Hall Street, Grand Ridge, FL 32442
Leon County – DRC #4 – Collins Main Library 200 West Park Avenue, Tallahassee, FL 32301
Liberty County – DRC #8 – Veterans Memorial Park 10405 NW Theo Jacobs Way, Bristol, FL 32321
Wakulla County – DRC #1 – Community One Stop 318 Shadeville Hwy, Crawfordville, FL
Washington County – DRC #6 – Washington County Agricultural Center 1424 W Jackson Ave, Chipley, FL 32428

Documentation for USDA-FSA Disaster Relief Programs

Documentation for USDA-FSA Disaster Relief Programs

 Tractor clearing debris

Following the USDA-FSA (United States Department of Agriculture-Farm Service Agency) meetings that were held across the Panhandle in response to Hurricane Michael, one word was a common factor program qualification: DOCUMENTATION!

In fact, most times it was said that producers need to “Document, Document, and Document.” But what exactly does that mean, and how exactly should it be done? And let’s face it, most of us in the agricultural industry are not the best at taking the time to write things down, especially after the storm of the century! However, in this case, it is not an option, but a necessity. In addition to pictures, work and purchase logs will be needed to fully document damage and recovery efforts.

Records should be kept for each individual USDA Farm Number. Documentation of labor and efforts will need to be recorded and broken down by farm numbers. If you do not know your farm number or need to create one, please contact your USDA-FSA office. In addition, records should be kept in detail for all work that is done by the producer and/or those that are hired out.

Work Log

Keeping detailed records of all activities related to the storm is critical for the USDA-FSA programs. Producers will not only need to log the scope of work but also record the following:

  • Date work doneCutting up a fallen tree
  • Who completed work (Self vs. Hire)
  • Rate charged (per hour/acre/tree etc.)
  • Scope of work
  • Man-hours worked
  • Size and type of equipment used (Chainsaws, generators, tractors, trucks, trailers, etc.)

This includes all chainsaw work, time spent in your tractors or dozers and other equipment that is used during storm clean up. Also, remember to log it as man hours. For example, if 3 people from your farm run chainsaws for 8 hours doing debris removal, that would be logged as 24 hours (3 men x 8 hours). In addition, include details about locations of work done and how/why it was required to maintain or restore normal operation of your farm. For example, tree removed from the field to allow for harvest equipment to enter a field, or cleanup of damaged feed barn to allow of additional feed to be delivered for livestock.

Purchase Log

Expenses from the storm can help quantify the scope of damage. Detailed records and receipts should be kept of all purchases made in relation to the disaster.  This will be key for disaster relief programs, as well as for tax purposes. These purchase/expenses could include:

  • Fence Repair Supplies
  • Fuel
  • Feed (above normal or as a replacement of lost feed)
  • Vet Supplies (Replacement of lost vaccines from power outages)
  • Capital purchases

Photographs

In addition to work and purchase logs, photographs are key documentation. These too should be kept by farm number. While taking photos, take close ups as well as wide angle pictures that help capture the vastness of the damage in addition to being able to be used to help verify the location of the pictures. If you are able to email pictures to yourself, after documenting a farm/location, email those pictures to yourself with the location and other important information to help keep images organized. This will also allow for pictures to be stored in more than one location as a backup.

Long story short, it is better to over-document, than to wish you had. Utilization of these logs will help keep records for each farm number and give your operation a great starting point when meeting with USDA-FSA program staff to report your storm damage. Detailed information about Disaster Assistance Programs are available online or by contacting local offices.  Additional information or types of documentation can be seen from the Wisconsin FSA document: Disaster Assistance Program Loss Documentation  

Copies of the Work and Purchase Logs can be downloaded for printing using the following links, or are available by mail by calling the UF/IFAS Extension Holmes County Office  850-547-1108.

Work Log

Purchase Log

Fumigant and Non-fumigant Nematicides for Nematode Management in Potato Production

Fumigant and Non-fumigant Nematicides for Nematode Management in Potato Production

Tractors gathering potatoes

Plant-parasitic nematodes are a major yield-limiting pest in potato production in Florida. Nematicide application is one of the main management strategies available to growers in potato production. (Harvesting potatoes in Hastings, Florida. UF/IFAS)

Plant-parasitic nematodes are a major yield-limiting pest in potato production in Florida.  Nematicide application is one of the main management strategies available to growers in potato production.  In recent years, new nematicide chemistries have been developed and these products are becoming available to growers.  This article summarizes results of work with new and old nematicides over the past 3 years at the Hastings Agricultural Extension Center.  Work in 2016 and 2017 was conducted by Dr. Joe Noling, UF/IFAS professor emeritus and Dr. Noling collaborated on work in 2018.

Trial Layout

In 2016, 2017, and 2018, a trial comparing Nimitz (active ingredient fluensulfone), a non-fumigant registered for use in potato this year, at various rates with the commercial standard Telone II (1,3-dichloropropene) and an untreated control, was conducted.

Table 1. Nematicide treatments for trial conducted in 2016, 2017, and 2018
Treatment Number Product Rate
1 Nimitz 2.5 pints /acre
2 Nimitz 3.5 pints /acre
3 Nimitz 5.0 pints /acre
4 Nimitz 7.0 pints /acre
5 Telone II 6.5 gal/acre
6 Untreated Control ——

In 2018, a trial was also conducted to compare a range of nematicides available on the market (Table 2).

Table 2. Nematicide treatments for trial conducted in 2018 only.
Treatment Number Product Rate
1 Nimitz 5.0 pt/ acre
2 Mocap EC 1.5 gal/acre
3 Velum Prime 6.8 oz/acre
4 Telone ll 6.5 gal/acre
5 Vydate C-LV 2 gal/acre
6 Untreated Control

Nimitz, MoCap EC (ethoprop), and Velum Prime (fluopyram) are liquid products that were applied with a boom 3 weeks before planting and incorporated with rotary tillage.  Telone fumigant was inject in-row 3 weeks before planting.  Vydate C-LV (oxamyl) was sprayed in a band in the seed furrow followed by 3 foliar sprays.  Treatments were applied to 100’ plots with 4 rows at 40” row spacing.  There were 6 replicates in each trial.  Soil abundances of plant-parasitic nematodes were counted before planting and at harvest, and tuber yield was measured. Sting nematode was the primary plant-parasitic nematode present in the trial.

Results of Nimitz rate trial 2016-2018

In all 3 years of the Nimitz rate trial, all rates of Nimitz and Telone significantly reduced sting nematode abundances at harvest relative to untreated control (Fig. 1).  Nematode management was better with Telone than Nimitz at 2.5 pt/a in 2016, but Nimitz and Telone performed similarly in all other cases.

Nematode Graph

The influence of nematicide treatments on potato yields varied somewhat from year to year (Fig. 2).  In 2016, higher rates of Nimitz (5 or 7 pt/a) and Telone increased marketable yield compared with untreated control.  In 2017, lower Nimitz rates (2.5, 3.5, or 5 pt/a) increased potato yield, but high rates of Nimitz (7 pt/a) and Telone had yields similar to untreated.  Phytotoxicity is a potential explanation for reduced yields with Nimitz at 7 pt/a and Telone, although no specific symptoms were observed.  In 2018, all Nimitz and Telone treatments increased tuber yield except Nimitz 7 pt/a, which was similar to untreated.

Marketplace Yield Graph

Results of 2018 commercial nematicides trial

In the 2018 trial testing various nematicides, none of the products significantly reduced final sting nematode abundances compared with untreated control although strong numerical trends occurred (Fig. 3).  Only Mocap significantly reduced stubby-root nematode abundances relative to untreated control (Fig. 4).  Nematicide treatments did not affect marketable potato yield (Fig. 5).  This suggests that nematode pressure was too low to affect yield in this trial.

Sting Nematodes GraphGrabau Stubby nematode populationMarketplace Yield Graph

Summary and action items

In summary, Nimitz shows promise for effectively managing sting nematodes and increasing potato yields when used at the optimum rate.  Telone also continues to be an effective option.  Due to relatively low nematode pressure in the 2018 trial, further testing is needed to determine the efficacy of other relatively new (Velum Prime) or returning (Vydate) products.

Action items: 1. Determine nematode pressure by taking soil samples, preferable while a prior crop is still growing, when considering nematode management, including nematicide application.  2. Consider UF/IFAS research results when choosing a pesticide. 3. Integrate multiple forms of management into your nematode management plan including nematicide application, crop rotation, and weed management.

For more information on nematode management in Irish potato see the UF/IFAS publication, Nematode Management in Potatoes

 

Florida Forest Service Requirements for Open Burning in Hurricane Michael Impacted Areas

Florida Forest Service Requirements for Open Burning in Hurricane Michael Impacted Areas

Source:  Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS)

Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam and the Florida Forest Service released requirements for open burning, effective November 2, 2018, in the following counties impacted by Hurricane Michael: Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Jackson, Liberty and Washington.

The Florida Forest Service created two geographical zones, primary and secondary, to identify hurricane-impacted areas with specific open burning requirements. Effective immediately through January 7, 2019, burning hurricane vegetative debris in the impact area zones requires an on-site inspection and burn authorization from the Florida Forest Service. Zone parameters are as follows:

Primary Zone

  • Certified pile burning is allowed.
  • Non-certified pile burning is allowed at Disaster Debris Management Sites approved by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection or with an Air Curtain Incinerator.
  • On-site inspections are required for all burn authorizations.
  • Broadcast burning is not allowed.

Secondary Zone

  • Certified pile burning is allowed.
  • Non-certified pile burning is allowed.
  • Broadcast burning is allowed.
  • Fire Supervisor approval is required for all burn authorizations.

We have thoroughly evaluated the wildfire risks in these areas hardest hit by the storm,” said Jim Karels, State Forester and Director of the Florida Forest Service. “Our plan will effectively reintroduce open burning into these areas with firefighter and public safety as the primary focus.”

Due to the immediate need for certification, the Florida Forest Service is offering two courses:

Certified Pile Burner Course on November 27 or November 28 – Marianna, FL.

Hurricane Michael’s destructive path through the Florida Panhandle resulted in significant damage to homes and property, including nearly 3 million acres of timberland. The volume of timber on the ground has created a serious threat, causing great concern for catastrophic wildfire danger in the short and long term. The Florida Forest Service has transported additional heavy equipment into the area and is working with state and federal agencies to assist with re-establishing fire lines.

To obtain a burn authorization in Bay, Calhoun, Gulf, Jackson or Washington County, contact (850) 373-1801. To obtain a burn authorization in Franklin, Gadsden or Liberty County, contact (850) 681-5951. Certified burn authorizations may also be obtained by downloading the free FLBurnTools app in Apple App Store or on Google Play.

The Florida Forest Service will continuously evaluate current requirements to determine if restrictions are appropriate. For current wildfire conditions, interactive fire maps and more information on burn authorizations, visit FloridaForestService.com.

Certified Pile Burner Courses – November 27 or 28

Certified Pile Burner Courses – November 27 or 28

In response to the large amount of storm debris from Hurricane Michael, the Florida Forest Service and the University of Florida Jackson County Extension Service will be offering a no-cost, Certified Pile Burner Course in Marianna, Florida. For the next several months, because of the risk of wildfires and the challenge of private property access, only certified pile burners will be issued commercial permits in the primary impacted region of Hurricane Michael.

This is one-day class will be offered on consecutive days to allow greater participation:

Choose either Tuesday, November 27, 2018 or Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Class size may be limited, so register early.  This course will show you how to burn piles legally, safely, and efficiently.  This training will be held from 8:30 am till 4:30 pm Central Time at the Jackson County Agriculture Offices, 2741 Pennsylvania Ave., Marianna, Florida.

There will be a test at the end of the session. You must receive a grade of 70% or higher on the exam to pass the course.  After passing the course, you will need to demonstrate a proper pile burn with approval from your local Florida Forest Service (FFS) office to become certified.

Florida’s Certified Pile Burner Training Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why should I be a certified pile burner?
A: Certified pile burners are trained to burn piles legally, safely and efficiently. Most importantly, it could save a life. Also, when the weather is dry, certified pile burners will receive priority for authorization to burn by the Florida Forest Service (FFS). Also, certified pile burners are allowed to burn up to two hours longer per day and get multiple day authorizations.

Q: What is a Pile Burner Customer Number?
A: When you call the FFS for an authorization to burn, you will be assigned a personal customer number.  This number references your information, so it doesn’t need to be gathered each time you call for an authorization. You must have your individual FFS customer number in order to be certified.

Q: Is there a test?
A: Yes, the test is 20 questions and open-book. You must receive a score of at least 70% to pass.

Q: What if I don’t pass?
A: Very few people fail the test but if you do, you will be provided another opportunity to take the test at a later date. If you fail the second time, you must re-register and take the training again.

Q: Why do you ask for my email on the application form?
A: Email is the fastest and most convenient method to inform registrants of their registration status. If no email address is provided, then all correspondence will be sent through the federal mail. This can take several days to relay messages, and this may not be practical if changes are made to the course schedule or for last minute registrations.

Q: Is there a cost for the training?
A: No. This is a special class in response to Hurricane Michael, the traditional $50 fee has been waived for these courses.

Q: How long does my certification last, and how long do I have to complete the certification from the time I finish the class?
A: As long as the person with the certification uses their number at least 5 times in a period of 5 years their certification will not expire under the current program. You MUST complete the certification burn within a year of taking the class.

Q: Will certified burners be notified if their certification expires?
A: Yes, notification will be sent out to them to let them know of their upcoming certification expiration date.

Q: Will I be certified at the end of the one-day training?
A: No, you will need to follow the written instructions that you will receive from the FFS to become certified. You will need to complete a simple burn plan, have it reviewed and approved locally by the FFS and also have the burn itself reviewed and approved by the FFS.

Q: Is there a minimum age to be a certified pile burner?
A: Yes, you must be at least 18 years old to take the test and be a certified pile burner.

Marianna Pile Burner Certification Course Registration Packet

 

For more information, contact: 

Florida Forest Service
Sabrina Willey
850-681-5900
Sabrina.Willey@FreshFromFlorida.com

Federal Programs Available to Help Farmers and Ranchers Recover from Hurricane Michael

Federal Programs Available to Help Farmers and Ranchers Recover from Hurricane Michael

There are a variety of programs from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) that will be available to help farmers, ranchers, and timberland owners in the counties effected by Hurricane Michael. The majority of the programs are administered through the Farm Service Agency (FSA). The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) also has programs in place that can benefit landowners recovering from the hurricane. Below are brief descriptions of several of the most pertinent programs. More details on the specific programs are available by viewing the linked fact sheets. These programs will also be explained in detail at a series of producer meetings.

  • FSA Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) – LIP provides benefits to livestock producers for livestock deaths in excess of normal mortality caused by adverse weather or by attacks by animals reintroduced into the wild by the Federal Government. LIP payments are equal to 75 percent of the average fair market value of the livestock. LIP Fact Sheet
  • FSA Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm Raised Fish Program (ELAP) – ELAP provides financial assistance to eligible producers of livestock, honeybees and farm-raised fish for losses due to disease, certain adverse weather events or loss conditions, including blizzards and wildfires, as determined by the Secretary. ELAP assistance is provided for losses not covered by other disaster assistance programs authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill and the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, such as losses not covered by the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) and the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP). ELAP Fact Sheet 
Jackson County Feed Barn Damaged by Hurricaned Michael

ELAP covers losses of purchased feedsuffs from a hurricane. Credit: Doug Mayo, UF/IFAS

  • FSA Emergency Forest Restoration Program (EFRP) – EFRP provides payments to eligible owners of nonindustrial private forest (NIPF) land in order to carry out emergency measures to restore land damaged by a natural disaster. Available funding for EFRP is determined annually by Congress. EFRP Fact Sheet
  • FSA Tree Assistance Program (TAP) – TAP provides financial assistance to qualifying orchardists and nursery tree growers to replant or rehabilitate eligible trees, bushes and vines damaged by natural disasters. TAP Fact Sheet
  • FSA Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) – ECP helps farmers and ranchers to repair damage to farmlands caused by natural disasters and to help put in place methods for water conservation during severe drought. The ECP does this by giving ranchers and farmers funding and assistance to repair the damaged farmland or to install methods for water conservation. ECP Fact Sheet
Farm Fence Debris Removal in Jackson County

The Emergency Conservation program provides cost-share funding to remove debris and repair fences. Credit:  Doug Mayo, UF/IFAS

  • FSA Emergency Farm Loans – Emergency loans are available to help producers recover from production and physical losses due to drought, flooding, other natural disasters or quarantine. Emergency Farm Loans Fact Sheet
  • NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) – Farmers, ranchers, and non-industrial private forestland owners can apply for resource assistance through EQIP. Eligible land includes cropland, rangeland, and non-industrial private forestland. Recovery assistance includes, but is not limited to: immediate soil erosion protection, minimizing noxious and invasive plant proliferation, protecting water quality, restoring livestock infrastructure necessary for grazing management, emergency animal mortality management. EQIP Fact Sheet 

If you are interested in participating in any of these programs, the first step is contacting your county’s USDA Service Center and setting up an appointment. Use the Service Center Locator to find the contact information for your Service Center. NOTE: At the time this document was compiled, due to damage to the Blountstown Service Center people from Calhoun, Liberty, Franklin, and Gulf Counties were being directed to the Quincy (Gadsden County) Service Center.

Additional information about federal disaster recovery programs is available at www.farmers.gov.