OLYMPIA, WA – the Washington State Legislature has appropriated $300,000 to the Washington State Conservation Commission (SCC) and Whatcom Conservation District (Whatcom CD) through grants to help with the economic recovery of Whatcom County farmers and ranchers who experienced property damage or economic loss due to the November 2021 floods.
SCC encourages those affected to apply early to this new Disaster Assistance Program, as funding is limited and awarded on a rolling basis. The SCC will accept applications until June 24, 2022, by 4:00 p.m. or until funding is gone.
Get the Disaster Assistance Program guidelines and application on the SCC website at www.scc.wa.gov/dap.
“Whatcom Conservation District is pleased to announce a new partnership with SCC providing disaster assistance to those impacted by the floods of 2021,” said Brandy Reed, the District Manager of the Whatcom CD.
“Whatcom CD and partners have already supported 28 local dairy farmers on water quality improvements through an emergency manure transfer pilot program. By continuing to help farmers and ranchers address these challenging circumstances, our community can continue to ensure sustainable, profitable, and productive agriculture in the future."
The Washington State Legislature allocated funding to launch the program and help those Whatcom County farmers and ranchers hit the hardest by the floods.
Should more funding become available in the future, the Disaster Assistance Program provides a framework for an ongoing state program that could continue to support Washington communities affected by natural disasters.
“The goal is to create a program that would be nimble and ready to release funding as soon as possible whenever disaster strikes,” said SCC Executive Director Chris Pettit. “We know that climate change is making more and more disasters inevitable, and it will affect our farmers and ranchers the most. Therefore, in times of crisis, we have to do all we can to protect the food supply and help them get back on their feet.”
The Legislature additionally required SCC to coordinate with the Washington State Department of Agriculture and local conservation districts to conduct outreach to farmers and ranchers to increase awareness and understanding and ensure that farmers and ranchers are aware of other disaster relief assistance available through the state and federal government.
Several other programs are also available for farmers and ranchers at the federal level. Farmers or ranchers interested in seeking out federal funding should visit their local Farm Service Agency office to find out more. Get more information about the Washington offices by visiting https://www.fsa.usda.gov/state-offices/Washington/index.
To learn more about the new Washington state disaster relief program or fill out an application, you can visit www.scc.wa.gov/dap or call Whatcom Conservation District (360-526-2380)with questions.