USDA is responding to farmers and ranchers who suffered damage to working lands and livestock mortality because of Hurricane Florence. Producers are encouraged to sign up for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). USDA is holding a special signup through the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) for agricultural livestock mortality and carcass disposal. NRCS offices in North Carolina and South Carolina are accepting applications for assistance. Farmers and ranchers that suffered damage to working lands and livestock mortality because of the hurricane are encouraged to contact their local NRCS office.
Conservation practices also available through EQIP can address flood and wind damage, excessive runoff that is causing hurricane-related natural resource concerns and provide protection from exceptional storm events in the future.
In addition, FDA’s Guidance for Industry: Evaluating the Safety of Flood-Affected Food Crops for Human Consumption provides the information that producers can use as they assess damage to their food crops. This guidance is an important resource for the growers who produce and market these crops, as they are responsible for assuring the safety of flood-affected food crops for human consumption.
The FDA reminds harvesters that generally, if the edible portion of a crop is exposed to contaminated flood waters, it is considered “adulterated” under the Federal, Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and should not enter the human food supply. This applies to all food crops including underground crops (e.g., peanuts, potatoes). For crops that were in or near flooded areas but where flood waters did not contact the edible portions of the crops, the growers should evaluate the safety of the crops for human consumption on a case-by-case basis for possible food safety concerns.
Sometimes, crops that have been harvested and then subsequently deemed unsuitable for human use can be salvaged for animal food. For more information please see CVM Update: Resources for Animal Food Producers in Flooded Areas.