After weeks of heavy rainfall, growers are faced with an array of challenges associated with floodwater. Relief opportunities and support are available on a state and federal level to help navigate these difficulties. This information is current as of August 18, 2023 and will be updated by Western Growers as more resources become available.
Hurricane Hilary Resources
For wildfire resources, visit the CDFA’s recovery information here.
The first course of action for farmers who are experiencing flooding should be to contact their crop insurance agent.
It is important for the grower to be able to provide maps and locations of the fields and damage to the adjuster. It’s also important for the insured to let the adjuster know if they plan on destroying the crop, and not do anything until advised by the adjuster. Crop insurance will not cover for crops that have already been harvested and may still be in the field.
Federal Disaster Resources
• The USDA/CDFA hosted the California Disaster Assistance Webinar
• Q&A with USDA and California Department of Food and Ag about Disaster Assistance in California recording
• The USDA has created a Disaster Assistance Discovery Tool to simplify the process of identifying assistance programs
• USDA Rural Development (RD) programs and services can help rural residents, businesses and communities impacted by disasters and support long-term planning and recovery efforts, in English and Spanish
• Growers who are experiencing the effects of flooding are strongly encouraged to call their local FSA office immediately as they have several programs that can help: https://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app
• The Emergency Conservation Program (ECP), administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) “provides emergency funding and technical assistance to farmers and ranchers to rehabilitate farmland and conservation structures.”
• The Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) Program is a federal emergency recovery program that helps local communities recover after a natural disaster.
This program is intended to protect life and property from severe erosion and unstable streambanks.
The EWP Program requires a government sponsor (city, county, improvement or conservation district) and there is oversight that is required.
• The USDA has provided a Disaster Assistance Programs At A Glance brochure for easy reference to assess which assistance programs may be available:
• Links to the programs noted in the brochure can be found on the USDA’s Disaster Assistance Programs page: Disaster Assistance Programs (usda.gov)
Both USDA and the Small Business Administration also have emergency loan programs which you may also wish to access:
- U.S. Small Business Administration Extends Deadline for Federal Disaster Loan
The Farm Service Agency in California is accepting emergency conservation program applications. Signups extend from Feb. 13, 2023 – April 14, 2023.
State and County Disaster Resources
The California Department of Food and Agriculture has compiled a list of flood recovery resources.
The California Department of Food and Agriculture shares storm response and recovery updates after March 2023 storms.
The CCOF published a blog post of flood recovery resources.
The Grower-Shipper Association of Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties created the comprehensive Ag Storm Damage Assistance Chart v2.21.23. Please note that some deadlines are 60 days’ post-damage, which means information will be due in March 2023.
- There are tax relief opportunities available to those who have been impacted by storms, according to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office. Those who have been affected by storms are eligible to claim a deduction for a disaster loss and will have more time to file their taxes. The filing and payment deadline for individuals and businesses affected by winter storms in California is now May 15, 2023: Tax Relief for Californians Impacted by Storms | California Governor and Businesses Impacted by Storms Now Eligible for Emergency Tax Relief | California Governor
- Those looking for tax relief can submit their request on the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) webpage: State of Emergency Tax Relief (ca.gov)
The California Agricultural Commissioners and Sealers Association (CACASA)
Contacting your agricultural commissioner to help with damage assessment is an important step as well. Your county agriculture commissioner is charged with collecting data on damages, and this data is used by federal and state agencies to determine the need for assistance for you and your community. The CACASA website provides an interactive map to show the contact information for the contact for your county: County Info | CACASA
The following links are for county-specific information:
El Dorado County
2022-2023 Storm Information (edcgov.us)
Tax Relief Eligibility
How to Apply for FEMA Disaster Relief
San Joaquin County
Recovery and Assistance
Santa Barbara County
Santa Cruz County
Assistance Eligibility News Article
Here are some resources to help develop an action plan after a flooding event regarding food safety:
Western Growers’ On Farm Flood Management and Response Webinar video.
Western Growers resource for key considerations for California flood assessments and associated soil sampling and testing.
The FDA Safety of Food and Animal Food Crops Affected by Hurricanes, Flooding, and Power Outages page addresses the major concerns regarding crop safety associated with heavy metals, chemicals, bacteria and mold contamination. To meet established safety requirements, the FDA is working closely with state regulators and producers to address concerns.
Western Growers Leafy Green Appendix F
The Appendix F Considerations for Addressing the Effects of Weather Conditions on Environmental Sources of Human Pathogens offers information regarding potential contamination risks associated with flooding, which is important for pre-harvest food safety and environmental assessments for leafy green operations. This document also provides potential corrective actions in response to hazards that may be present in the surrounding environment.
CA LGMA Flooding Fact Sheet
The CA LGMA has provided a one-page fact sheet to guide responses to flooding. It contains best practices for three types of flooding events: if an existing crop has come into contact with flood water, if flooding is near existing crop but there is no direct contact, and for future crops where the ground has been flooded.
Two of the key takeaways are to document corrective/preventive actions and maintain records for two years for all types of flooding and to wait a minimum of 60 days before planting after a flood event to allow the soil to sufficiently dry out. The fact sheet states that soil testing can shorten the interval for planting to 30 days.
The UC Small Farm Food Safety has collected a list of produce safety and flood resources.
For additional information or questions regarding food safety, please reach out to WG’s AVP of Science Sonia Salas at firstname.lastname@example.org.