Disasters happen, and they are what most growing operations have to deal with. Here’s how these growing professionals learn to adapt to their circumstances and moved their businesses forward.
Be adaptable. Look at what’s out there. After the last two years, we look at all new technology. Talk to whoever’s doing something interesting. Try something different. The reality is we’re gonna be forced to. We have to adapt. For us, this is an exciting time in agriculture.
Tom Rogers, almond grower, Madera, California
Be prepared as best as one can. Be flexible and able to put a new plan into action if need be. Last year I made it all the way to Plan E before I was able to plant. Plan E worked. I could have given up. But it was essential if I wanted to survive to continue trying.
Vicki Westerhoff, Genesis Growers, Inc., St. Anne, Illinois
Look to yourself as the best resource; you’re a farmer. Don’t give up, don’t be dismissed. It’s only because I pushed and figured things out that we’ve gone this far with a government program that never would have seen the light of day otherwise.
Renee Randall, Willow Ridge Organic Farm, Wauzeka, Wisconsin
Never give up. Request FEMA and other natural disaster assistance that may be available, contact your local NRCS office to assist financially and technically with conservation practice planning and implementation for recovery. Contact the USDA Emergency Watershed Program (EWP) and the Emergency Conservation Program (ECP). Call a special meeting with all the agriculture interest groups and local, state and federal agencies to collaborate a strategy moving forward to provide necessary assistance utilizing each other’s resources to the maximum.
Curtis Elke, State Conservationist with USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Idaho
Contact your local NRCS office first. Avail yourself of all NRCS services including natural resource assessments, planning and design services as well as financial programs to help repair and or enhance (and or) conserve the resources of your farm that will enable you to keep your farm productive and thriving into the future. NRCS is a great one-stop and first-stop service.
NRCS administers various Farm Bill programs that provide money for remedial practices to address damages caused by disaster or natural event. NRCS provides free non-regulatory technical planning and design assistance for farms impacted by natural events, including above-normal rainfall events that might only cause minor damage to fields or crops. NRCS works closely with Resource Conservation Districts, which in turn provide additional free assistance, such as help with permits in some counties, other technical and or financial assistance. NRCS also works closely with the USDA Farm Services Agency to help growers with emergency and disaster programs, funding, and help with crop losses.
Rich Casale NRCS District Conservationist, Santa Cruz County, California.
Many holistic management producers have found that investing in soil and land health is the No. 1 best way to build land resilience for future disasters and more quickly recover from these kinds of disasters, according to Ann Adams, Executive Director of Holistic Management International in Albuquerque, New Mexico. “Improved ground cover has helped people be less susceptible to flooding, improved grazing practices have helped people cover ground after a fire or reduce fuel loads to reduce likelihood of fire in the future, and soil fertility practices have helped farmers and ranchers alike to mitigate the effects of drought and pest invasion.”
Lastly, the Holistic Management decision-making and planning processes have helped all of these producers prioritize decisions that must be made after a catastrophic event. Free e-books on their decision-making, financial planning and grazing planning are also available. As one rancher noted, “I had a wildfire burn one-third of my ranch. Within 24 hours I knew what my plan was and how I would deal with it. That’s peace of mind.”