The federal ag department is making $20 million available to support producers
By Diego Flammini
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is providing financial assistance to farmers who lost on-farm grain storage due to natural disasters.
On Sept. 28, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the USDA is earmarking $20 million in cost-share support to help farmers in Kentucky, Minnesota and South Dakota and surrounding areas rebuild on-farm storage after natural disasters in 2021 and 2022.
In December 2021, tornadoes swept through Kentucky. And in May and July of this year, derechos affected farms in Minnesota and South Dakota.
USDA estimates the funding will cover 75 percent of eligible expenses related to building grain storage capacity or purchasing equipment like grain baggers.
“Congress has provided USDA with important flexibility through the Commodity Credit Corporation, which gives us the tools to be nimble as we work to support the production and marketing of agricultural commodities and quickly respond to agricultural producers’ needs,” Vilsack said in a statement.
Details on how to apply for the program will be released in a Federal Register notice in the future.
The costs associated with setting up grain bins vary, but they can cost in the tens of thousands of dollars per bin.
Even grain bins on online private sale sites are listed for thousands of dollars.
Scott Stahl, a farmer from Bridgewater, S. D., lost 11 grain bins during the May 12 derecho.
The USDA’s funding won’t replace every grain bin farmers lost, but having the department’s support is positive, he said.
“You know, the goal is to get back to where we were on May 11th, and it’s going to take time, but we are thankful that USDA put this program out there and hope it can be a benefit to producers that were affected by this storm,” Stahl told Keloland.