Federal agencies help navigate disaster assistance challenges for agriculture

SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY — U.S. Representative Jimmy Panetta (CA-19) and the San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau held a town hall to connect local farmers, ranchers, and agricultural businesses with federal disaster resources following the recent storms. 

Local leaders as well as representatives from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and Small Business Administration (SBA) were able to answer questions and provide guidance on navigating disaster related aid and programs.

“The storms caused significant damage to many farms and ranches in our communities, which are so important to the economy, character, and livelihoods of the central coast of California and to our nation’s food supply. I’m proud to have advocated for the critical federal support that our farmers, ranchers, and agricultural business owners will need to repair, recover, and return to normal, but our work is only just beginning,” said Rep. Panetta. “Now the hard work starts as we move forward and ensure that these federal agencies work with us, not against us, to get my constituents in the 19th Congressional District the appropriate and accessible federal resources.”


“Our local agriculture community is hurting, and federal assistance cannot come fast enough,” said San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau Executive Director Brent Burchett. “We are grateful for our partnership with Congressman Panetta to push for clarity on what can be a confusing and frustrating application process for farmers and ranchers. We want to continue hearing from those impacted about their experiences with federal relief agencies so we can help cut through red tape to provide relief.”

On Jan. 15, President Joe Biden granted a Major Disaster Declaration for the State of California following a letter led by Rep. Panetta with the entire California Congressional delegation urging the Biden Administration to expedite support. On Jan. 17, President Biden amended his Major Disaster Declaration to include SLO County opening up assistance for farmers, small businesses, and families.

Rep. Panetta encourages farmers, ranchers, small business owners, and residents in need of assistance in navigating storm recovery resources to contact his office at (831) 424-2229 or send him an email through his website here panetta.house.gov/contact/email