Federal Help Available for Replacing Wrecked Steel Storage
The USDA is providing limited funding for farmers to rebuild on-farm grain storage wrecked by this past summer’s Derechos. The total is $20 million available to farmers impacted by straight-line wind in South Dakota and Minnesota and a tornado in Kentucky. Aside from the wind, South Dakota farmers have been hit with conditions ranging from delayed planting because it was too wet in the north, to severe drought elsewhere, according to Steve Dick, state executive director for the South Dakota Farm Service Agency. “We’re hearing yields that are on par with 2012, which was probably one of the worst years for drought in South Dakota’s history, so it’s been all over the board, and then on top of that, we had massive storms, straight-line windstorms, Derechos, come through our state in May, June and July,” said Dick, during an interview. “That just had an enormous impact on facilities in the eastern half of the state.”
The federal assistance, announced by U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, is for producers left with too little grain storage heading into harvest. If an elevator can’t take a farmer’s crop because the elevator’s storage is storm damaged, the farmer can get federal help.
“If they’re within 30 miles of that facility, or their county’s within 30 miles of that facility, there’s going to be some assistance there to help producers look at putting up some temporary facilities, putting up some permanent facilities, or maybe even looking at buying some equipment for a grain bagging facility [for] putting up the bags,” said Dick, “so it’s just an opportunity to help those producers whose commercial facility where they hauled to may have had some serious damage.”
Details are still being hammered out, according to Dick, but the USDA anticipates that the funds will cover 75 percent of the eligible expenses associated with building storage or purchasing equipment such as grain baggers.
“Certainly, there’s been a lot of steel that’s gone up this summer in South Dakota at these commercial facilities as well as on-farm sites, but there’s a lot that hasn’t been done yet, and it’s because of the backlog in orders for supplies, shortage of workers, construction workers to get these projects up and running,” he said. “The harvest is starting to come in now, and there will be some issues at some of these facilities, particularly when you get into north of the Interstate-90 area in South Dakota.
Most South Dakota counties are located in affected areas eligible for federal help.