May 13, 2014 10:06:59 AM
JACKSON -- Poultry growers are looking for some help after the April 28 tornadoes that caused tremendous damage on farms and the loss of more than a million birds in four Mississippi counties.
The Mississippi Board of Animal Health reports more than one million birds were lost to the tornadoes or subsequent power outages. Winston, Wayne, Newton and Scott counties reported 58 houses with major damage and 17 houses with minor damage.
Tom Tabler with the Mississippi State University Extension Service said many poultry growers have significant recovery expenses but no options for income except disaster money. He said some of them may have lost their homes in addition to their poultry houses.
"There will not be any quick fixes for these farm families," he said.
The Extension Service hosted a meeting with poultry growers on May 8.
Winston County grower Tim Hobby said he lost 10 broiler houses and 234,000 birds. About half of the birds arrived four days before the storm, and he said the others were placed in the houses about two hours before the tornado barreled through.
Hobby said his immediate need is debris removal.
"I would need 2 miles of roadside to pile all this within 10 feet of the right of way for the county to pick up. There is just too much for that to work," he said.
Mike Sullivan of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency told growers the agency hopes the livestock indemnity portion of the new farm bill will move along faster than it did in the old farm bill.
"These recent tornadoes are the first time we are implementing the new legislation. Unfortunately for Mississippi, but fortunately for those impacted, we have a lot of experience handling disasters," Sullivan said.