8 steps for every flooded farmer and rancher

Jordan Rasmussen and Cody Smith contributed to this blog.

Across Nebraska and Iowa, farmers, ranchers, and rural communities have been standing strong in the face of rising floodwaters. If you are a farmer or rancher in need, Farm Aid recommends following these eight steps:

The first step is to document everything. Photos, descriptions, and receipts may help prove what happened when seeking assistance. Second, contact agencies like your local Farm Service Agency office, right away. These agencies can assist you in determining what relief you qualify for. Step three is a reminder that deadlines come fast. Every program likely has a deadline and it’s important to submit applications and documentation on time. The fourth step emphasizes most relief programs will have an appeals process—“no” is not always a final decision.

Recovery is a long process which can evoke stress, depression, or other mental health concerns, cautions step five. Be patient, and if you are in need of help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800.273.TALK (8255) for assistance. For Nebraska residents, the Rural Response Hotline is available at 800.464.0258. Hotline staff provides confidential assistance and many types of counseling.

Scam artists will come around, says step six. Do not pay cash, or more than one-third up front, for the cost of repairs to avoid scams and put everything in writing. Step seven reminds you that discrimination in relief programs is illegal, and agency programs have complaint processes.

Finally, know that you can call Farm Aid at 800.FARM.AID if you need any type of support. As you endure this challenge, the Center for Rural Affairs stands with you.