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Disaster Assistance and Crop Insurance

UMass Extension

Resources for Disaster Preparedness

A summary of key emergency contacts and reference information to prepare for potential disasters.

Risk Management Crop Insurance Program

UMass Extension, in partnership with the USDA – Risk Management Agency, delivers risk management/crop insurance education programs for Massachusetts agricultural & aquacultural producers. This multi-faceted program provides comprehensive and up to date information to Massachusetts producers at meetings, seminars, community events, and other outreach programs, in conjunction with our primary partners and other commodity groups.

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Farm Service Agency Loan Programs  

Your local office of the Farm Service Agency provides assistance for natural disaster losses, resulting from drought, flood, fire, freeze, tornadoes, pest infestation, and other calamities. Emergency loan funds may be used to: restore or replace essential property; pay all or part of production costs associated with the disaster year; pay essential family living expenses; reorganize the farming operation; and refinance certain debts.

Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) 

ECP provides funding for farmers and ranchers to rehabilitate farmland damaged by wind erosion, floods, hurricanes or other natural disasters, and for carrying out emergency water conservation measures during periods of severe drought.  

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.

Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP)

NAP provides financial assistance to eligible producers affected by drought, flood, hurricane or other natural disasters. NAP covers non-insurable crop losses and planting prevented by disasters. Landowners, tenants or sharecroppers who share in the risk of producing an eligible crop are eligible. Eligible crops include commercial crops and other agricultural commodities produced for food, including livestock feed or fiber, for which the catastrophic level of crop insurance is unavailable. Also eligible for NAP coverage are controlled-environment crops (mushroom and floriculture), specialty crops (honey and maple sap) and value loss crops (aquaculture, Christmas trees, ginseng, ornamental nursery and turf grass sod).

Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments Program (SURE)

SURE covers crop revenue losses from quantity or quality deficiencies in those counties and contiguous counties declared disaster areas by the agriculture secretary, or in cases where the overall production loss exceeds 50 percent.

Tree Assistance Program (TAP)

TAP provides partial reimbursement to orchardists and nursery tree growers for replanting, salvage, pruning, debris removal and land preparation if losses due to natural disasters exceed 15 percent.

Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm Raised Fish (ELAP)

ELAP provides emergency relief to producers of livestock, honeybees and farm-raised fish, and covers losses from disaster, such as adverse weather or other conditions, such as blizzards and wildfires not adequately covered by any other disaster program.

Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP)

LFP provides assistance to livestock producers for forage losses due to drought and losses due to wildfire on public lands.

Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP)

LIP provides assistance to livestock producers for livestock deaths from disaster events, in excess of normal mortality.

Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)

Emergency Watershed Protection Program (EWP)

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) EWP program helps protect lives and property threatened by natural disasters, such as floods, hurricanes, tornadoes and wildfires. The program provides technical and financial assistance to preserve life and property threatened by excessive erosion and flooding. Owners, managers and users of public, private or tribal lands are eligible for EWP assistance if their watershed area has been damaged by a natural disaster.

Risk Management Agency (RMA)

RMA manages the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC) to provide crop insurance products to farmers and ranchers. Approved Insurance Providers (AIP) sell and service federal crop insurance policies through a public-private partnership with RMA. RMA backs the AIPs who share the risks associated with catastrophic losses due to major weather events.

Small Business Administration (SBA)

SBA provides low-interest disaster loans to businesses of all sizes, private non-profit organizations, homeowners, and renters. SBA disaster loans can be used to repair or replace the following items damaged or destroyed in a declared disaster: real estate, personal property, machinery and equipment, and inventory and business assets.

Home and Property Disaster Loans

Renters and homeowners alike may borrow up to $40,000 to repair or replace clothing, furniture, cars, appliances, etc. damaged or destroyed in the disaster. Homeowners may apply for up to $200,000 to repair or replace their primary residence to its pre-disaster condition.

Business Physical Disaster Assistance Loans

Businesses of any size and most private nonprofit organizations may apply to the SBA for a loan to recover after a disaster.

Economic Injury Loans

If your small business or private, nonprofit organization has suffered economic injury, regardless of physical damage, and is located in a declared disaster area, you may be eligible for financial assistance from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Farm Emergency Loans

Offers emergency loans to help producers recover from production and physical losses due to drought, flooding, other natural disasters, or quarantine.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

Housing Assistance

FEMA provides assistance to repair structural parts of a home, utilities, entrance and exit ways from a home, including privately owned access roads and reconnecting or resetting sewer, water, electrical, fuel lines and tanks. FEMA provides temporary housing assistance and money to homeowners to repair damage from the disaster to their primary residence that is not covered by insurance. The goal is to make the damaged home safe, sanitary and functional. FEMA provides money to homeowners to replace their home destroyed in the disaster that is not covered by insurance. FEMA provides direct assistance or money for the construction of a home. This type of help occurs only in insular areas or remote locations specified by FEMA where no other type of housing assistance is possible.

To receive money or help for the categories listed above, all of the following must be true:

  • You have losses in an area that has been declared a disaster by the president;
  • You have filed for insurance benefits, and the damage to your property is not covered by your insurance, or your insurance settlement is insufficient to meet your losses;
  • You or someone who lives with you is a citizen of the United States, a non-citizen national or a qualified alien;
  • The home in the disaster area is where you usually live and where you were living at the time of the disaster; and
  • You are not able to live in your home now, you cannot get to your home due to the disaster or your home requires repairs because of damage from the disaster.

You may not be eligible for "Housing Needs" assistance if:

  • You have other, adequate rent-free housing that you can use (for example, rental property that is not occupied);
  • Your home that was damaged is your secondary or vacation residence;
  • Your expenses resulted only from leaving your home as a precaution, and you were able to return to your home immediately after the incident;
  • You have refused assistance from your insurance provider(s);
  • Your only losses are business losses (including farm business other than the farmhouse and self-employment) or items not covered by this program; or
  • The damaged home where you live is located in a designated flood hazard area and your community is not participating in the National Flood Insurance Program. In this case, the flood damage to your home would not be covered, but you may qualify for rental assistance or items not covered by flood insurance, such as water wells, septic systems, medical, dental or funeral expenses.

Needs Other Than Housing

Money is available for necessary expenses and serious needs caused by the disaster. This includes disaster-related medical and dental costs; disaster-related funeral and burial cost; clothing; household items (room furnishings, appliances); tools (specialized or protective clothing and equipment) required for your job; necessary educational materials (computers, school books, supplies); fuels for primary heat source (heating oil, gas); clean-up items (wet/dry vacuum, dehumidifier); disaster damaged vehicle; moving and storage expenses related to the disaster (moving and storing property to avoid additional disaster damage while disaster-related repairs are being made to the home); and other necessary expenses or serious needs as determined by FEMA.

To receive money for needs other than housing that are the result of a disaster, all of the following must be true:

  • You have losses in an area that has been declared a disaster area by the president;
  • You have filed for insurance benefits, and the damage to your property is not covered by your insurance, or your insurance settlement is insufficient to meet your losses;
  • You or someone who lives with you is a citizen of the United States, a non-citizen national or a qualified alien;
  • You have necessary expenses or serious needs because of the disaster; and
  • You have accepted assistance from all other sources for which you are eligible, such as insurance proceeds or Small Business Administration disaster loans.

Other Disaster Information

National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service

Disaster Assistance for Agricultural Producers

Farm Aid 

From their site, “If you are a farmer looking for advice, assistance, or just some resources for your farm, Farm Aid is here to help.”  1-800-FARM AID Farm Aid/

Getting Through Tough Financial Times

This University of Illinois Extension Service site offers information on how to trim costs and get through tough times, not necessarily just related to emergencies or weather disasters.