This past Monday, October 15th, 2018, the NC General Assembly held a special session to finalize appropriations for hurricane relief funds. They approved $850 million in funding, $450 million that can be used immediately and $400 million that the legislators will decide how to spend in the coming months.
Of the $850 million in hurricane relief funding, $70 million was dedicated to agriculture. This is after the NC Department of Agriculture held a hearing with the NC Senate and NC House of Representatives Joint Committee of Appropriations requesting a total of $310 million in relief funding. $250 million of the funding was to be dedicated to NC Farmer Recovery Reinvestment Program that was for immediate use. The program was an incentive for farmers to continue their business, assist with underinsured and uninsured crops and livestock losses and the intended use of funds must have been to continue agriculture operation. The remaining $60 million was to be dedicated to various relief programs that would come from existing funding.
The $70 million dedicated to agriculture was broken down into two categories. The first was the Federal Emergency Management Agency/ US Department of Agriculture Match at $20,000,000. This allocates funds to the Department of Agrulcutre and Consumer Services to provide the State match for federal farmer assistance programs. The second is Agriculture Recovery at $50,000,000 which allocates funds to the Department of Agriculture and Consumers services to assist farmers with recovery activities such as hay relief, pasture renovations, no-field farm road repair, best management practices renovations, reforestation efforts and to provide federal matches as needed. Both of these programs are nonrecurring programs.