As emergency response continues throughout Southeast Texas counties in the wake of Hurricane Ike, Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples is planning for long-term recovery efforts and is asking the U.S. Department of Agriculture for assistance with future agricultural and rural restoration. He and other emergency management officials took an aerial tour of the devastation and met with local ranchers.

“We have seen the staggering effects Hurricane Ike has had on Texas agriculture and rural communities, and as our emergency response continues, we will see much more devastation that must be addressed through long-term recovery planning,” Commissioner Staples said. “I look forward to working with our federal partners to rebuild our state’s rural communities that have been impacted by this storm.”

Specifically, Commissioner Staples seeks federal assistance to address the following long-term recovery needs:

• Financial assistance for costs associated with obtaining animal feed resources;

• Animal feed assistance possibly through donated protein-source commodities;

• Financial assistance for grazing lands rehabilitation;

• Haying and grazing access to certain federally protected lands with forage, such as Conservation Reserve Program lands;

• Financial assistance for clearing debris;

• Financial assistance for rebuilding livestock fences and other critical structures;

• Indemnity for livestock deaths;

• Assistance with animal carcass removal and disposal;

• Activation of a crop disaster program;

• Financial assistance for forest lands rehabilitation.

The need to help is greater than ever. Producers who can donate animal feed, hay or other resources such as water troughs are asked to call the Texas Department of Agriculture’s Hay Hotline at 1-800-TELL-TDA. For monetary donations, please contact the Texas AgriLife Extension Service foundation at 979-845-2604 or visit http://agrilifevents.tamu.edu/.