Federal funding for Louisiana farmers impacted by 2016 floods - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Federal funding for Louisiana farmers impacted by 2016 floods

JENNINGS, LA (KPLC) -

Louisiana farmers could soon see federal funding to recover any financial losses from the recent March and August floods of 2016. 

A $10 million grant is being funded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for farmers in 51 parishes who qualify. 

The funding will be administered by the Louisiana Department of Agriculture of Forestry, which has held meetings throughout the state to inform farmers of the guidelines and application process to receive some of the grant money. In our area, farmers in Calcasieu, Beauregard, Allen and Jeff Davis Parish are eligible. 

But for farmers like Charles Britt, a farmer in Jeff Davis Parish, the $10 million grant won't be enough. 

"If everybody applies for everything like that, we might get a hamburger out of that deal or a coke," said Britt. "I mean 10 million dollars won't go very far."

Britt has been a farmer in Jeff Davis Parish for more than 30 years. He said flooding on his land gets worse every year.

Farmers must have crop loss totaling at least $10,000 and pre-storm revenue of $25,000 in the years since 2014 to be eligible.

Crop loss must amount to a minimum of $10,000 as calculated by the crop-loss calculator. Eligible crops include: cotton, corn, grain sorghum, rice, hay, soybeans, sweet potatoes, sugarcane, strawberries, and wheat. Crawfish and cattle are also included.

Finding out this information is why Kevin Berken, a rice farmer from Jeff Davis Parish, attended Thursday's meeting in Welsh. 

"I took a big hit last year, quite a substantial loss. It's going to take me quite a few years to dig out of that hole," said Berken. "It's not going to make us whole but it will help."

With all the severe weather, droughts, and disease that impacts the livelihood of farmers in Louisiana, some may ask why they take the risk. 

"It's the life of a farmer," said Berken. "We don't have a lot of control over the weather, but we accept that and we go on because we love what we do."

"It's in our blood, that's what we do," said Britt.

To review the guidelines, go to www.ldaf.la.gov. Applications will be available online July 26. 

Copyright KPLC 2017. All rights reserved.

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