Southeast Texas Farmers, Ranchers Urged to Apply for Disaster Help

October 31, 2005

Disaster assistance may be available to Southeast Texas farmers and ranchers who have suffered damage or incurred losses as a result of Hurricane Rita, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Texas Governor’s Division of Emergency Management (GDEM).

“We understand the needs of rural Texans,” said Duke Mazurek, deputy state coordinating officer for GDEM. “Farmers and ranchers are a strong part of many communities. We want to make sure they’re aware of the help available to rebuild their operations and recover from the disaster.”

Farmers and ranchers who had damage to their primary residences are urged to call FEMA’s toll-free registration line at 800-621-FEMA (TTY 800-462-7585) to apply for assistance. The toll-free line is in operation 24 hours a day, seven days a week until further notice.

Disaster assistance may include:

* Grants to pay for temporary housing and minor home repairs.
* Grants to pay for serious immediate needs not covered by insurance and other sources.
* Low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to cover uninsured or underinsured losses to their primary residence.

Farmers and ranchers are urged to contact their local U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Farm Service Agency (FSA) as soon as possible for emergency assistance.

* Low-interest emergency loans for production loss to crops and physical losses including livestock and farm buildings, such as broiler houses, barns and livestock pens.
* 100 percent cost sharing to rehabilitate farmland by removing debris; grading, shaping and re-leveling; restoring fences; and other conservation measures.

The USDA Rural Development program also offers grants and loans for home repair or purchase to individuals, as well as assistance for community facilities, utilities or businesses in rural areas.

FSA offices for disaster-declared counties:

Angelina (Lufkin Service Center) 936-634-9900
Brazoria (Angleton Service Center) 979-849-9385
Chambers (Anahuac Service Center) 409-267-6231
Fort Bend (Rosenberg Service Center) 281-232-6898
Galveston (Angleton Service Center) 979-849-9385
Hardin (Liberty Service Center) 936-336-9145
Harris (Houston Service Center) 281-469-7856
Jasper (Jasper Service Center) 409-384-3332
Jefferson (Beaumont Service Center) 409-860-7293
Liberty (Liberty Service Center) 936-336-9145
Montgomery (Huntsville Service Center) 936-295-7771
Nacogdoches (Nacogdoches Service Center) 936-564-5891
Newton (Jasper Service Center) 409-384-3332
Orange (Beaumont Service Center) 409-860-7293
Polk (Livingston Service Center) 936-327-8911
Sabine (San Augustine Center) 936-275-2374
San Augustine (San Augustine Center) 936-275-2374
San Jacinto (Livingston Service Center) 936-327-8911
Shelby (Center Service Center) 936-598-5557
Trinity (Lufkin Service Center) 936-634-9900
Tyler (Jasper Service Center) 409-384-3332
Walker (Huntsville Service Center) 936-295-7771.

More information can be found at

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