The California Avocado Commission and University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) are coordinating with the USDA's Farm Service Agency (FSA) and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) the availability of field appointments for growers who have been impacted by the Thomas Fire. Personnel from both FSA and NRCS will be available to assist growers with the necessary paperwork to apply for federal assistance.
Currently, two days of appointments are available (information below). To schedule an appointment for either of the following two days, please call (805) 645-1434.
Tuesday, December 19th, 2017
Santa Paula Agriculture Museum
926 Railroad Ave, Santa Paula
8:00 am – 4:00 pm
Wednesday, December 20th, 2017
University of California Cooperative Extension
669 County Square Drive Suite #100, Ventura
8:00 am – 4:00 pm
Federal relief personnel will be available to assist growers with the paperwork, and growers are asked to provide the following information:
- Business entity information (e.g. individual, limited liability corporation, etc.)
- Social Security Number and/or Employer Identification Number
- Location/size of the farm
- Extent of damage
In addition, as we reported yesterday, it's important that California avocado industry members who have been impacted by the recent wildfires and/or Santa Ana winds contact their crop insurance agent within 72 hours of the event to determine possible applicable coverage. Both fire and wind events may be included in certain crop insurance coverage, but agents must be notified within 72 hours.
Below, again, is a list of potential FSA programs that may provide disaster assistance to those avocado growers affected by the wildfires:
- The Tree Assistance Program provides financial assistance to qualifying orchardists to help them replant or rehabilitate trees damaged by natural disasters (separate from crop insurance).
- The Emergency Conservation Program offers funding and technical assistance to growers to help them rehabilitate land damaged by natural disasters. This program may provide cost share assistance for debris removal, land leveling and shaping, irrigation replacement, and cattle fencing.
- Emergency loans are available to producers located in counties that receive a primary or contiguous disaster designation.
Remember, if you are an impacted grower you are asked to contact both FSA and your county agricultural commissioner's office as follows:
USDA-Farm Service Agency
Santa Barbara/Ventura County
Key Program Technician
Riverside/San Diego Counties
County Executive Director
760-347-3675 ext. 107
Korinne Bell, Chief Deputy Agricultural Commissioner, Korinne.Bell@ventura.org
Henry Gonzalez, Agricultural Commissioner, Henry.Gonzales@ventura.org
(805) 388-4343, Ext. 2
Santa Barbara County
Debbie Trupe, Deputy Agricultural Commissioner, firstname.lastname@example.org
Stephanie Stark, Deputy Agricultural Commissioner, email@example.com
San Diego County
Vince Acosta, Information Technology Principal, firstname.lastname@example.org
Ron Bray, Assistant Agricultural Commission, RBray@RIVCO.ORG
A complete list of FSA disaster assistance programs can be found online. For more information about available disaster assistance programs, contact your local U.S. Department of Agriculture office. You can find your local USDA service center by clicking on this link.
Tom Bellamore, President
Ken Melban, Vice President of Industry Affairs
California Avocado Commission