Tennessee Department of Agriculture responds to flood damage

NASHVILLE — Following the rains and flooding that led to a State of Emergency in Tennessee, the Tennessee Department of Agriculture (TDA) is coordinating with partners to assess damage, monitor food and fuel supplies, and assist farmers as floodwaters recede. 

“Under Governor Lee’s direction, we have been coordinating responses with TEMA and other agencies to address the needs of Tennesseans ranging from ensuring food safety to assisting with livestock needs,” Agriculture Commissioner Charlie Hatcher, D.V.M. said.  

”While there have been a few official reports of livestock losses at this time, many farmers have experienced livestock and crop losses due to excessive rainfall and flooding. We are working with USDA to see that damage assessments are conducted and we are prepared to support agricultural disaster designations where appropriate.” 

Flooding and washouts in low-lying areas and river bottomlands, particularly in West Tennessee, have most likely affected winter wheat and cover crops, which are planted to protect against soil loss. In many cases, the full extent of damages may not be known until rivers crest and flood waters recede. The process could take weeks.     

Farmers in counties experiencing a crop loss of 30 percent or more can qualify for a USDA Secretarial Disaster Designation, making them and farmers in adjacent counties eligible to apply for low-interest emergency loans. 

During the flooding event, TDA monitored and supported livestock and companion animal emergency responses, including dispatch of Disaster Animal Response Teams. Department fuel inspectors continue to respond to locations in areas that may be prone to water contamination in fuel storage tanks. As waters recede, food safety staff members will determine the damage to food warehousing and manufacturing facilities in low-lying areas. 

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture’s mission is to serve the citizens of Tennessee by promoting wise uses of our agricultural and forest resources, developing economic opportunities, and ensuring safe and dependable food and fiber. Visit www.tn.gov/agriculture to learn more. 

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