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Resources for producers facing drought

US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Disaster Relief

The USDA provides a web-based disaster assistance discovery tool (farmers.gov/recover/disaster-tool) to help producers initially determine which disaster relief programs may fit their circumstances. If you are interested in a program, we recommend contacting your local USDA Service Center as well.

Emergency Conservation Program

Provides funding and assistance to restore fences, restore conservation structures, provide emergency water during drought and rehabilitate farmland damaged by natural disasters 

Emergency Forest Restoration Program

Helps non-industrial private forest landowners restore forest health damaged by natural disasters

Emergency Livestock Assistance Program

For livestock, honey bees or farm-raised fish losses due to certain weather conditions, including wildfires, and not covered by other disaster relief programs 

Emergency Watershed Protection Program

Offers technical and financial assistance to relieve imminent threats to life and property caused by natural disasters that impair a watershed

Environmental Quality Incentives Program

Provides assistance for immediate and long-term needs to help recover from natural disasters, including drought and wildfire, and to help conserve water

Livestock Forage Disaster Program

Provides compensation to livestock producers who have experienced pasture or forage loss due to drought or who have federally managed grazing leases they are unable to graze because of wildfire 

Livestock Indemnity Program

Provides reimbursement for livestock losses up to 75 percent of the market value of animals lost to adverse weather conditions

Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program

Provides assistance to producers of non-insurable crops 

Other Federal Assistance

FEMA offers assistance to those who have been affected by natural disasters during and immediately after a disaster occurs.

The US Small Business Administration (SBA) provides loans to small businesses affected by natural disasters. Funds may be used to repair or replace items damaged or destroyed in a declared disaster. 

State Resources

State agencies may have resources or be able to help identify resources for those facing wildfire and drought. Contact state agencies in your state to learn about specific programs.

State Departments of Agriculture (Find your state’s contact information through the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture’s directory here: www.nasda.org/states/state-directory)

State Offices or Divisions of Homeland Security

State Offices of Emergency Services or Emergency Management (The Federal Department of Homeland Security has a directory of all related state agencies at www.dhs.gov/state-homeland-security-and-emergency-services)

Local Resources

Many communities have resources tailored to local needs, from feeding displaced livestock to where to find masks for agricultural workers. The list below is only a start to identifying available wildfire recovery assistance or to explore opportunities to provide resources for others.

  • University Extension Offices
  • Local and State Farm Bureau Chapters
  • Chambers of Commerce
  • Local farm and ranch supply stores or local feed stores

For more information and additional resources for landowners and managers planning for and managing drought and wildfire, contact WLA’s Bre Owens at bre@westernlandowners.org.

Louis Wertz is editor-in-chief of On Land and communications director at the Western Landowners Alliance. He lives in Wheat Ridge, Colorado, with his wife and daughter.