Hurricane Recovery Begins with Disaster Preparedness

We’re connecting with farmers NOW and we need your help. Donate today and help support Hurricane Florence and Michael relief efforts.

Oct. 15, 2018
Hurricane Michael made landfall and pushed through Southeastern U.S. states late last week, compounding the challenges facing farming families impacted by Hurricane Florence while adding countless more rural communities to the list of those recovering from this terrible hurricane season. 

Thanks to new and repeat donors over the last month, RAFI has been able to mobilize the following response for affected farmers:
  1. Crisis hotline (7a-7p, 7 days/week) 919-542-1396 ext.1 OR toll free 866-586-6746
  2. Seed distribution (brokering seed needs with seed suppliers)
  3. Resource triage (fact sheets, referrals to partner organizations and federal programs, technical clean-up info, etc.)

What we need help with now is funding our Farm Advocacy Team for the LONG-TERM(2-3 year) business planning, financial counseling, and policy advocacy necessary to keep farms from collapsing under the added stress of these hurricanes and their aftermath.

Sept. 17, 2018
There is lots of flooding in eastern NC. Farmers who haven’t evacuated are pressed down by floodwaters and some haven’t yet assessed damage. Waters aren’t expected to crest for 24-48 hours, so it may be a week before they can fully evaluate losses.

Sept. 12, 2018, 3:00PM EST

Hurricane Florence is fast approaching the coasts of North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia and is expected to hit farms and rural communities hard. We’re bracing for widespread flooding, loss of crops, loss of animals, damaged and destroyed homes and farm buildings, and threats to human health and life.

For RAFI, this is not our first hurricane. RAFI staff have provided training and assistance to farmers and farm organizations in over 20 hurricanes, and a long list of droughts, floods and other forms of disaster across the US. For many going through the storm, this is a new experience. It is our responsibility to connect them with the knowledge and assistance that can make all the difference in whether their farm survives the storm or not.

As a leader in responding to natural disasters in the Southeast for more than 20 years, RAFI is positioned to expand delivery of high-quality, high-impact support for individual farm families, fast. 

>>Donate today and help support Hurricane Florence and Michael relief efforts.
“Following Hurricane Floyd, if it hadn’t been for RAFI, we would have lost every material possession we have. There is not a shadow of doubt in my mind. When I called RAFI, I was at my lowest low, and they were my last hope. From the moment they picked up the phone and through all the difficulties and hardships over the years since, they were there for me. The knowledge and resources and connections that they provided helped us accomplish so much. Without their help, I don’t know where we would be, but we wouldn’t be farming and we wouldn’t be in our home. We would have lost everything.”  
-Lynne Conner, Farmer in Bertie County, NC

We need your help. The recent hurricanes come at a time when farm families are already hurting financially with low crop prices and high costs. Our Direct Services team is already working in-depth with over 40 farm families in financial crisis. The storm will only add to the need and increase the level of crisis in our existing cases.

RAFI has already contacted thousands of farmers within its network with targeted PREPAREDNESS guidelines for this hurricane. We’re encouraging farmers to photograph their assets, back-up and secure documents, and mobilize to protect their own lives. Soon, in the aftermath, we’ll need more trained people on the ground coordinating efforts and making strategic decisions with affected families and farms.

Will you please DONATE to help us mobilize NOW, IN ADVANCE OF THE STORM, to get guidance and essential information to farmers in the Southeast?

In the days immediately following the storm, getting information on disaster assistance programs and disaster recovery quickly can make the difference between farms recovering or being lost. Farms that are traditionally under-served by USDA programs often miss out on critical information or application deadlines, and may not know that resources that could help them exist. Disaster recovery requires families to be at their most organized best at a time when their lives are at their worst. RAFI’s staff provides timely, critical information and walks with them through the process, providing expert advising and support. We know the difference between getting assistance for a destroyed apple crop vs destroyed trees vs the cooler the apples were kept in.

We expect the damages from this storm to continue to mount late into September as storm water flows back toward the ocean. 

When the media and the politicians leave the disaster, RAFI doesn’t.  We make a long-term commitment to the farm families that we serve, providing in depth financial counseling, evaluation of the overall financial situation, development of options for managing their current situation and moving toward their family’s goals, and assists the family in getting access to federal programs, lending programs, and other sources of funds to keep them in their homes and on the land, no matter how long it takes. We also provide a listening ear to families that are often at the end of their rope and facing hopeless situations, and help them think clearly and make choices that are better for themselves and their families.

We anticipate relief work to extend at least 2-3 years given the scale of the storm, the potential damages and farms and homes at risk and low farm prices that will delay recovery. Please DONATE to help us save and rebuild farms IN THE YEARS AHEAD. 

Farmers: Please know that when the storm has passed, there are many of us and partners across the country ready to assist. Farmers, please call us with any questions at 919-542-1396 and press #1 for the farmer hotline or reach the hotline directly toll-free at 866-586-6746. 

The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has also activated its hotline to connect farmers with resources to assist with agricultural emergencies. The toll-free number is 1-866-645-9403. The hotline operates 7 am to 7pm.

The Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI-USA) is a registered 501c3 non-profit organization. Our EIN # is 56-1704863. Financial information about RAFI-USA and a copy of our North Carolina solicitation license are available from the Charitable Solicitation Licensing Section at 888-830-4989. The license is not an endorsement by the state of North Carolina.

RAFI has earned the 2017 Gold GuideStar Exchange Seal and the Charity Navigator 4-star rating, demonstrating our commitment to transparency. Financial information including annual reports and audited financial statements are available.

RAFI has been included in Charity Navigator’s “Hot Topic” list of highly-rated organizations planning to respond in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence. Find RAFI under “Financial Aid for Families.”