Four hurricanes in six weeks greatly have increased the need for assistance to farmers and cattlemen in the Southeast, so the National Cattlemen's Beef Association has established a permanent Disaster Relief Fund. Money and products collected through this effort will be sent to the local state cattlemen's associations to ensure the most efficient distribution. The fund will be earmarked for cattlemen in areas that qualify for disaster assistance under federal guidelines.
"Today, the urgent need is in
NCBA organized a relief effort for
Individuals who wish to contribute to the NCBA Disaster Relief Fund can call 1-866-BEEF-USA for information. Donations also can be sent to NCBA Disaster Relief Fund, c/o NCBA, P.O. Box 3469, Englewood, CO 80155.
"When you get blown away, the need for help is pretty immediate," says Dr. Billy Powell, executive vice president of the Alabama Cattlemen's Association. "Hurricane Ivan hit the Gulf Coast, moved inland and dropped lots of rain, went back through Florida and then over to Texas. It was kind of like a Stephen King novel."
Powell says that in 12 counties already declared 100 percent disaster areas, about 4,200
Jim Handley, executive vice president of the Florida Cattlemen's Association, calls the situation there "Tough. There's a world of water. In places, you can't even get a truck in to load calves." He says that some of the auction barns hit in the first storms are reopening, but the most pressing need is for the federal government to expedite disaster relief.
NCBA staff in
Sept. 27 President Bush offered a supplemental funding bill that included $400 million specifically for disaster relief for agriculture in
"The impact from these storms will be felt for months," says McAdams. "Besides replacing the immediate losses of buildings, crops and livestock, producers will have to contend with pasture loss from 30 or more days of rain. That's going to lower shipping weights, body-condition scores and that's going to raise feed costs.
"While we work with the federal government to see what kind of disaster relief is available, this fund will help supply some relief immediately at the time of need."