Steps for Farms Assessing Flood Damage

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A flooded low lying field.
Flooding impacts from the dramatic rain event on August 17th have had devastating effects on farms across the region. If you or your neighbors have been impacted by this event please take recommended steps to ensure you receive available help:
  1. Document the damage. Take photos, assess and tally losses, and record and store this information. This is often the most impactful way to verify the extent of loss.
  2. Report your damage – several agencies can assist, however, it is up to the grower to reach out and provide information:
  • For CROP/FIELD DAMAGE – Contact the Buncombe/Madison County Farm Service Agency at 828-649-9099, ext. 2
  • For STREAMBANK DAMAGE – Contact the Buncombe Soil & Water Conservation Service at 828-250-4785
  • NRCS is also assisting with STREAMBANK DAMAGE reports – for Buncombe/Haywood counties call 828-421-9795
  • N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services may also be able to assist with support – Call 828/558-1074

It’s possible that this flooding event may warrant special disaster funding for farmers in the future, and the best way to access potential funding is to document damage as soon as possible.

Food Safety and Flooded Crops

Beyond the immediate damage of floodwaters, growers must evaluate crops to determine what, if anything, can be salvaged. Floodwaters are highly contaminated with a multitude of adulterants and harmful microscopic organisms. For producers of edible crops, any edible crop that has been exposed to flood waters is considered adulterated and should not enter human food channels. The FDA provides clear guidance on assessing crops, and steps growers should take when produce has been contaminated by floodwaters.

For more detailed information on these steps, please visit Information Regarding Flooded Produce. The FDA Guidance for the Produce Industry is another useful reference for growers.