BRIDGEWATER, S.D. & SALEM, S.D. (KELO)– Earlier this week the United States Department of Agriculture announced it will provide disaster assistance to farmers affected by the May 12 derecho.
Since May 12, farmers have put in thousands of dollars trying to clean up and rebuild their farms to the way they were before the derecho. For many this includes replacing some or all of their grain storage facilities.
The USDA will be providing $20 million dollars cost-share disaster assistance to help ag producers in South Dakota, Minnesota and Kentucky rebuild these grain storage structures.
Scott Stahl’s farm was hit hard by the May 12 derecho, losing 11 grain bins total. Now, rebuilding has begun on the farm, but it’s not cheap.
“The costs have increased with the supply chain issues and the labor force issues that have been broadcasted. It seems to be catching up a bit, but like I said we are fortunate enough here to have two grain bins that have been replaced,” said Stahl.
Right now, farmers don’t know a lot about what the Grain Storage Assistance Program will entail.
“It will definitely help producers get back on their feet and provide some of the relief needed. in the inflationary environment that we are in, it will take a lot of dollars to get to where we were at prior to the storms, so it’s definitely needed relief,” said Stahl.
“I wasn’t expecting to see it initially, I was hoping to see something like this, it was kind of quite, I did not know it was coming, so when I saw it I was actually surprised and pleased,” said farmer Drew Peterson.
But, with grain bins costing between $2 to $3 per bushel and bin size averaging around 20 to 30 thousand bushels in the area, $20 million dollars is no where close to covering all the damages for producers.
“Twenty million, for all the damage that has occurred, isn’t a lot,” said Peterson. “But anything is great, we are really happy to see any of the support that they could give us.”
“I think $20 million is a great start, obviously the dollars lost is astronomically higher than that, but you know we’ve got to work with what we have to hopefully provide relief to those that need it the most,” said Stahl.
Helping farmers rebuild so they can keep feeding the world.
“You know, the goal is to get back to where we were on May 11th, and its going to take time, but we are thankful that USDA put this program out there and hope it can be a benefit to producers that were affected by this storm,” said Stahl.
Right now, the USDA hasn’t released a lot of details about the program, but we hope to learn more in the coming month. If farmers have questions, they should reach out to their local Farm Service Agency.