flooded field

Rural Disaster Resources

The Center for Rural Affairs is committed to continuing our work for opportunity and justice for everyone in rural America during crises that hit our small towns.

COVID-19 and the ripple effects have created new challenges for rural people and rural places. In addition to a worldwide pandemic, communities have recently experienced flooding, wildfires, and other disasters. We strive to help in your time of need.

Here are a few resources for you:

General disaster resources

Small Business Administration Disaster Loan program

  • Current Declared Disasters
  • Available disaster loans through the Small Business Administration:
    • Business Physical Disaster Loans – Loans to businesses to repair or replace disaster-damaged property owned by the business, including real estate, inventories, supplies, machinery and equipment. Businesses of any size are eligible. Private, non-profit organizations such as charities, churches, private universities, etc., are also eligible.
    • Economic Injury Disaster Loans – Working capital loans to help small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture, and most private, non-profit organizations of all sizes meet their ordinary and necessary financial obligations that cannot be met as a direct result of the disaster. These loans are intended to assist through the disaster recovery period.
    • Home Disaster Loans – Loans to homeowners or renters to repair or replace disaster-damaged real estate and personal property, including automobiles.

COVID-19 information

Nebraska Department of Health and Human ServicesIowa Department of Health and Human Services, and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Nebraska Emergency Management Agency and Iowa Emergency Management Association

Federal Emergency Management Agency COVID-19 response

Department of Homeland Security COVID-19 response

State of Nebraska - Nebraska Disaster Resource Guide

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization

Federal Trade Commission Consumer Information

U.S. Department of Labor

Business, housing, and individual relief resources

COVID-19 Federal Rural Resource Guide - the U.S. Department of Agriculture's federal rural resource guide which lists federal programs that can help rural communities, organizations, and individuals impacted by COVID-19.

Small business resources

Center for Rural Affairs - staff are available throughout Nebraska to assist businesses with free one-on-one counseling. Contact the representative in your area for assistance. Bilingual services are available. 

The Small Business Owner’s Guide to the CARES Act from the U.S. Senate Committee for Small Business & Entrepreneurship

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance for businesses and employers

Business-oriented disaster toolkit from Carolina Small Business

Agricultural resources

Farm Aid maintains a hotline to offer farmers advice and support, and refer farmers to a network of farm and rural support organizations across the country. Call 1.800.FARM.AID or email farmhelp@farmaid.org. Farm Aid has also put together this list of resources

Rural Advancement Foundation International offers mini-grants to North Carolina farmers - Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI-USA) will be distributing emergency mini-grants of $500 to farmers who are drastically impacted by market sales disruptions caused by COVID-19. Funding is currently limited to farmers located in North Carolina.

COVID-19 Resources for Farmers - from our friends at Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education Service. "As we all deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re doing everything we can to help farmers succeed in these trying times. We’ll add new resources as they become available, so check back often."

The Farmers Legal Action Group has compiled an excellent guide for farmers navigating the maze of federal programs available for farmers, ranging from small business support to unemployment insurance to changes to the bankruptcy code. 

Webinar on Online Sales Platforms for Farmers - hosted by Oregon Tilth. Watch this webinar to learn more about direct-to-consumer online sales platforms, including Barn2Door, Harvie, Local Food Marketplace, Food4All, and Open Food Network. Oregon Tilth has also posted questions to ask when considering online sales platforms. 

Considerations for Fruit and Vegetable Growers Related to Coronavirus & COVID-19 - from the University of Vermont Extension. The resources provide information on health and food-safety steps that growers should take, as well as planning and communication advice for markets and farmers markets. They also provide examples of what leading farms and markets are doing to address risk.

Farm Commons has created a series of six podcasts addressing COVID-19's effect on farm businesses. These free podcasts of approximately 30 minutes each cover the legal ramifications of topics such as sick leave, unemployment, social distancing, diversifying sales, and online sales.

Great Plains Center for Agricultural Health has developed an informational website to guide agricultural workers through questions they have about working with community spread COVID-19. 

​These webinars from Iowa State University go over some of the financial nuts and bolts for farmers applying for aid programs. 

U.S. Department of Agriculture - Farm Service Agency and Natural Resources Conservation Service

Wellness, health, and mental health resources

Nebraska Disaster Behavioral Health - 800.464.0258

Iowa Concern - 800.447.1885 (legal issues, finance, stress, and crisis/disaster)

Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services

Nebraska Family Helpline - 888.866.8660

Nebraska Rural Response Hotline - 800.464.0258

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration - 800.985.5990

Partner resource compilations 

Kansas Rural Center - COVID-19 Guidance for Farms and Communities

NCAT ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture - Resources including a video series, webinars, and general information compilations for agricultural producers, farmers markets, farmers and ranchers, and community/food sovereignty, including resources in Spanish.