U.S. Virgin Islands in Need of Hay Donations for Livestock

Amanda Bryant Culp Posted on 09/19/2017 by Amanda Bryant Culp

From the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Agriculture Commissioner Carlos Robles:

We just received the latest weather information and unless there is a miracle waiting in heaven, we will be taking another direct hit.  Puerto Rico will also be receiving a direct hit as opposed to a minor brush with Hurricane Irma. I know that FEMA is more interested in the lives of humans and USDA generally handles animals and humans (SNAP School Lunch Program etc.,

I am aware that a disaster declaration is being processed for the territory as of this email through the USDA Farm Service Agency. This along with the usual disaster loan processing will take some time.

Our basic need after the hurricane has passed for our livestock and horse (race horse) population will be hay and feed. Hurricanes destroy leaf cover from all flora.  This would probably be one of the critical needs during the recovery.

If we have could rally some donations after the storm has passed and assessment is made, that would be greatly appreciated. I will check in after the storm has passed God willing.

Carlos Robles
Vi Department of Agriculture


From the USDA:

American families coping with the aftermath of Hurricane Irma will receive much needed nutrition relief, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced.  Notably, packages of American grown and produced nutritious USDA Foods will be available across hurricane-stricken areas in Florida.

The move is part of a series of actions the USDA announced in recent days, as the department continues its efforts to help Americans in need following the devastation left by Hurricane Irma in Florida, Georgia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said the food boxes are designed to deal with an immediate need for food in locations ravaged by Hurricane Irma, where food resources are scarce.

“In the wake of this historic storm, many Floridians face major challenges finding food for their families, and the nutritious USDA Foods provided in these packages will help address that need until the area has recovered to a point where a longer-term solution can be put in place,” Perdue said.

The Disaster Household Distribution program was approved to start Sept. 14.  The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will work within its food bank network to serve people located in presidentially declared disaster areas. 

Given the widespread damage throughout the state of Florida, it is estimated that several thousand families will benefit from this program.  The food banks will utilize their current network of pantries to distribute foods in areas affected by Hurricane Irma.

Each of the packages will contain 25-30 pounds of USDA Foods and will be based on existing shelf-stable items in identified food banks and the availability of electricity and potable water in the particular area being served.

Additional Hurricane Irma related actions taken by USDA in recent days include:

  • Approving a request from the U.S. Virgin Islands to replace 100 percent of September 2017 Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits for the residents participating in the program who suffered food losses resulting from Hurricane Irma.
  • Approving a request from the U.S Virgin Islands to allow program participants to buy hot foods and hot ready-to-eat foods with their benefits through Nov. 13.
  • Issuing a special Evacuee Policy designed uniquely in response to Hurricane Irma which provides all SNAP state agencies with the choice of using the program’s expedited service provisions or offering evacuees in who have travelled to their state with one month of disaster benefits using streamlined program procedures.  The Evacuee Policy applies to anyone who resided in a county that received a Presidential disaster declaration for Individual Assistance, during the time of Hurricane Irma, did not receive SNAP benefits in September 2017, and who evacuated to another state that chooses to apply the policy.

USDA's Food and Nutrition Service administers 15 nutrition assistance programs, including the National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs, the Child and Adult Care Food Program, the Summer Food Service Program, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which together comprise America's nutrition safety net. For more information on FNS assistance during times of disaster, visit www.fns.usda.gov/disaster.

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