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Commissioner Miller Announces Disaster Relief Resources Available to Rural Communities Affected by Severe Weather (12/28/2015)

AUSTIN - Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller today announced disaster relief resources are available through the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) to rural communities, farmers and ranchers who have been impacted by recent severe weather. The commissioner also encouraged Texans to donate to disaster relief efforts through reputable organizations, such as the State of Texas Agriculture Relief (STAR) Fund, which is administered by TDA and helps farmers and ranchers with agricultural disaster relief efforts, including cost share for rebuilding fences and restoring operations.

“Texans are no strangers to extreme weather, and time after time, we pitch in to help our neighbors when Mother Nature throws us her worst. Whether through the STAR fund or any other reputable charitable organization, I encourage all Texans to lend a hand to those who have been affected by this storm,” Commissioner Miller said. “TDA is committed to providing any assistance we can, and our prayers remain with the families who have lost so much, our first responders and everyone who is beginning to rebuild after this terrible storm.”

Communities across the state, from the Panhandle to North Texas, continue to feel the effects of a severe winter storm that has caused heavy snowfall and spawned multiple tornadoes over the weekend. Agricultural operations in areas where a disaster declaration has been issued are eligible to apply for STAR funds. To donate to the STAR Fund to help Texans in need, please visit TexasAgriculture.gov. To apply for assistance through the STAR Fund, please visit http://texasagriculture.gov/Home/ProductionAgriculture/DisasterAssistance/STARFund.aspx.   

TDA’s Office of Rural Affairs has been in contact with officials in affected communities to provide immediate assistance. TDA helps rural communities affected by disasters through programs and grants like the Disaster Relief Fund (DRF). DRF is funded through the Texas Community Development Block Grant program and provides grant funds to communities to help alleviate the effects of natural disasters through debris removal, infrastructure repairs and improvements.

TDA also works with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to distribute emergency food supplies as necessary. At this time, no requests for food assistance have been received.

Additionally, farmers and ranchers who have sustained losses to livestock as a result of severe weather may be eligible for assistance through the USDA Farm Service Agency Disaster Assistance Program. For more information about this program, please visit http://www.fsa.usda.gov/programs-and-services/disaster-assistance-program/index