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News Release

USDA Offers Disaster Assistance to Farmers and Livestock Producers in Perkins County Impacted by the Windy Fire

Contact:  Jennifer Wurtz, EQIP Coordinator
jennifer.wurtz@usda.gov | Phone:  (605) 350-1253

Conatct:  Andrew Thomason, Public Affairs Specialist
andrew.thomason@usda.gov | Phone:  (605) 570-2625

Huron, South Dakota, February 26, 2021 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides technical and financial assistance to help Perkins County farmers and livestock producers recover from damages brought on by the Windy Fire. Agricultural producers are encouraged to contact their local USDA Service Center to learn about the programs available to help them recover from crop, land, infrastructure, and livestock losses.

“This fire has taken a toll on farmers and ranchers in Perkins County, South Dakota,” said Acting State Conservationist, Laura Broyles, for USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). “We stand with our producers who have worked tirelessly to contain the fire and minimize the damage. We know this fire has left damage in its wake, and I’m glad that USDA offers a strong portfolio of disaster assistance programs available to help.”

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) also offers programs to help in the recovery process. The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) can help producers plan and implement conservation practices on farms, ranches, and working forests impacted by natural disasters. Practices include Grazing Deferment on burned pasture and rangeland, Cover Crops to help rebuild lost organic matter and provide supplemental grazing options, as well as Fence and Pipeline practices to replace what has been destroyed.

“USDA can be a very valuable partner to help landowners with their recovery efforts,” stated Broyles, “Our staff will work one-on-one with landowners to make assessments of the damages and develop approaches that focus on effective recovery of the land.” The batching date deadline for Windy Fire Disaster assistance is March 26, 2021.

On Farmers.gov, the Disaster Assistance Discovery Tool, Disaster-at-a-Glance fact sheet, and Farm Loan Discovery Tool can help producers and landowners determine program or loan options. For assistance with a crop insurance claim, producers and landowners should contact their crop insurance agent. For Farm Service Agency (FSA) and NRCS programs, they should contact their local USDA Service Center.

All USDA Service Centers are open for business, including those that restrict in-person visits or require appointments. All Service Center visitors wishing to conduct business with NRCS, FSA, or any other Service Center agency should call ahead and schedule an appointment. Service Centers that are open for appointments will pre-screen visitors based on health concerns or recent travel and visitors must adhere to social distancing guidelines. Visitors are also required to wear a face covering during their appointment. Our program delivery staff will continue to work with our producers by phone, e-mail, and using online tools. More information can be found at farmers.gov/coronavirus.  

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