Inter-agency effort to bring federal aid to farmers in Puerto Rico

May 2018 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Nearly 300 farmers received information of the many USDA program available in the US Caribbean thanks to an outreach initiative titled “USDA Federal Aid Guidance and Registration Cycle”, organized by the USDA Hurricane Recovery Team in Puerto Rico.

A group made up of representatives of each local agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), lead by the NRCS California outreach team and the Department of Agriculture of Puerto Rico, held a series of meetings in four different municipalities of Puerto Rico with the purpose of educating farmers and landowners about the USDA agencies and programs that provide technical and financial assistance in the US Caribbean.

The meetings, held in the municipalities of Las Marías, Yauco, Arecibo and Orocovis, served as a space of interaction between farmers and government representatives that were able to clarify doubts about the program enrollment process. The agenda per day included a presentation of each agency and its programs, with a space for questions. Once the presentations were completed, each farmer could approach the information tables and enroll in the programs.

Meeting in the municipality of Las Marías. Photo by Tania Diaz Camacho. 

Representative from each USDA agency participated of the media tour, including: Farm Service Agency (FSA), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Rural Development (RD), and the US Forest Service (FS).

It was emphasized that the first step that farmers need to complete in order to register in any USDA program is to register their farm with the Farm Service Agency (FSA).

The USDA Caribbean Climate Hub (CCH) staff presented at all of the meetings to share information with the attendants on climate change, its effects on agriculture, the ADAPTA videos and workshops for farmers and landowners that are an exceptional educational resources to learn about best conservation practices in agriculture for climate adaptation and greenhouse gas mitigation.

Isabel Parés, USDA Caribbean Climate Hub Coordinator presenting at the meeting in the municipality of Yauco. Photo by Tania Diaz Camacho.

Meeting in the municipality of Yauco. Photo by Tania Diaz Camacho.

If you want to get to know the programs offered by the USDA please visit our Story Map, an online tool that helps you navigate the USDA agencies services: USDA assistance programs in the Caribbean

Hon. Carlos Flores, Secretary of the Department of Agriculture of Puerto Rico at the meeting in Arecibo.