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Strain begins Hurricane Ike damage assessments
September 13, 2008
Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M., said LDAF officials made early assessments on Saturday of agricultural storm surge damage caused by Hurricane Ike along Louisiana’s coastal areas.
Strain said high grazing ground for cattle in Plaquemines Parish is in short supply.
"Cattle are stranded and we may have to figure out ways to get them good drinking water and hay," Strain said. "We have only been able to travel seven miles past Myrtle Grove by vehicle."
LDAF Executive Assistant Rene Simon traveled through areas of Iberia, St. Mary and Vermilion parishes and reported that Ike’s storm surge had flooded sugar cane fields north of above Highway 14.
"It looks like 50 percent of the cane fields in the areas I was able to get to were flooded," Simon said. "It looks like Ike’s surge may be about a foot lower than Hurricane Rita’s, but the flooding to crops is very severe. Cane that was freshly planted will probably be lost if it’s underwater."
Strain said he will arrange a flyover across the coastal areas on Sunday to get an aerial view of the damage.
On Tuesday, Strain is scheduled to meet with Louisiana’s congressional delegation in Washington, D.C. Strain will also meet with U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer on Wednesday.
Strain advised all agricultural producers affected by hurricanes Gustav and Ike to sign up for the Farm Service Agency crop insurance program, the Non-Insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) before September 15, and to register with FEMA at 1-800-621-3362 (FEMA) for disaster assistance.
Strain has also offered the following disaster checklist for agricultural producers:
Take photographs and/or video of damages, including downed fences.
Apply for every program available through the local Farm Service Agency.
If crops must be harvested, leave a 10-foot! representative strip in each field to be inspected by an insurance ad juster.
Do not destroy any damaged crops until it has been inspected by an insurance adjuster.
Do not remove stumps from cut down trees until an FSA agent measures the diameter.
Move fallen limbs from the fields but don’t dispose until an FSA agent measures the diameter.
Go to the FEMA website for more information: www.fema.gov.
Contact your bankers, creditors, elevators and keep lines of communications open.
For the latest information on hurricanes Gustav and Ike, visit emergency.louisiana.gov or call the state’s emergency hotline at 1-866-288-2484 to listen to a recorded message with the most up-to-date information.