Center for Rural Affairs to Assist Farm Aid in Dispersing Flood Relief Funds

Release Date: 

06/24/2008

Contact(s): 

John Crabtree, johnc@cfra.org, Phone: (402) 687-2103 ext. 1010
LYONS, NE – Farm Aid President and Founder Willie Nelson distributed the first grant from the Iowa Farm Disaster Relief Fund on Saturday, June 21, to the Iowa Farm Disaster Relief Coalition, a group of farm and faith based organizations that are collecting donations to provide emergency relief for farmers market and community supported agriculture farmers and others specialty crop producers hit hard by recent flooding that are not eligible for crop insurance and other forms of relief.
The Center for Rural Affairs is a member of the Iowa Farm Disaster Relief Coalition and will be assisting in distributing relief checks to qualifying farmers. Midwestern family farmers have been hit with historic levels of storm and flood damage this spring. Without federal crop insurance, farmers who produce local foods for market are especially vulnerable. In a year when demand for locally grown foods is at its highest, many towns’ farmers’ markets have closed down due to flooding or product shortages.  Reports indicate that at least four million acres of farmland are underwater and that a high percentage will not be replanted this growing season. Many family farms in the region growing specialty crops and produce are not adequately covered by federal crop insurance and may not have the financial support necessary to rebuild. "Our hearts go out to the folks all along the Mississippi who are being affected by the severe floods that have taken out towns and farms in Iowa and Wisconsin," said Farm Aid President Willie Nelson. "At Farm Aid, we have had friends in these communities for 23 years who can deliver immediate support to family farmers, getting them back on the land, growing good food for all of us." The Iowa Farm Disaster Relief Fund will provide emergency funds for families to allow them to buy food and cover family living expenses, support emergency hotlines which provide legal, financial and emotional counseling to struggling farmers, and provide legal and financial counseling to farmers in danger of losing their farms.  Through churches and service agencies operating in the region, Farm Aid ensures that the money goes to farm families most in need.  “The damage done by the flooding in Iowa is almost impossible to imagine until you see it yourself.  We know that we cannot help everyone who needs help but we are proud to stand with our friends at Farm Aid and the members of the Iowa Farm Disaster Relief Coalition and humbly help Iowa farmers involved in local food production in what ways we can,” said John Crabtree of the Center for Rural Affairs. Along with the Center for Rural Affairs other groups in the Iowa Farm Disaster Relief Coalition include Buy Fresh Buy Local Iowa, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, Iowa Farmers Union, Iowa Network for Community Agriculture, Iowa Organic Association, National Catholic Rural Life Conference, Practical Farmers of Iowa, Women Food and Agriculture Network, Edible Iowa River Valley; Iowa Valley Resource Conservation and Development; and Atlantic farmer and advocate Denise O’Brien. As more information is available about the impact of the flooding in states across the Midwest, Farm Aid will work with additional organizations to quickly get resources to family farmers in those states.  Through workshops and public meetings, Farm Aid-funded groups educate farmers about available disaster assistance in each state. Donations to the Iowa Farm Disaster Relief Fund will help Farm Aid directly address the needs of farms in crisis. Please help Farm Aid help them. Contributions can be made to Farm Aid's Iowa Farm Disaster Fund online at www.farmaid.org.

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