Farmers in Wisconsin affected by Blizzard Evelyn last week should contact their local USDA Farm Service Agency offices as soon as possible with damage assessment.
“Time is of the essence,” says Laurie Fischer, American Dairy Coalition CEO. State officials need financial estimates of losses as soon as possible to enable Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker to apply for state and federal disaster assistance.
“Whether they are facing collapsed structures, lost milk production, high insurance deductibles, animal losses or other situations, farmers need to get their damages on the record with their local FSA office. Just one phone call could have a big impact down the road,” says Fischer.
Those assessing damages need to look beyond current losses not covered by insurance, and consider the longer-term economic losses that will impact future business profitability.
The ADC recommends farmers include in their assessments:
- Collapsed building roofs: Total footage damaged, as well as structural damage to the remainder of the building that did not collapse; cost of cleanup and short-term fixes to keep parlors running.
- Animal Injury: Injuries to cows, death of cows, cows culled, the percentage of cows in the future to be culled as a result of the blizzard and the loss per culled cow, as well as impact to future milking herd.
- Deductibles and Insurance Coverage: How much of your building will be covered? Will you receive any coverage for the replacement of the weakened structure? Are you required to pay a deductible and, if so, how much?
- Impact during rebuilding process: Increased risk of mastitis, breeding complications or disruptions, veterinarian costs, additional labor needed.
- Costs incurred from transporting animals, feed or milk.
- Milk lost.
- Recovery timelines: What is the realistic time frame in which your operation will return to normal function?