Lyon County is hard at work recovering from the terrible tornado of December 10. The outpouring of donations and volunteers has been amazing. People locally and from across the state, the U.S. and from other countries have made donations, volunteered and expressed sympathy.

The tornado traveled over approximately five miles of ground in Lyon County. Much of that distance was along Eddy Bay over residential areas and water. Of that distance, between 1-2 miles is considered farm ground. Significant damage to farms included loss of a tobacco barn, irrigation pivots, barn roofs, and fencing as well as damage to homesteads.

An issue farmers and landowners have to deal with is the rain of debris that fell as much as 6-7 miles away from the tornado path. Closer to the tornado the heavier debris fell out.

Even four miles out at the Lee S. Jones Park the debris includes nails, glass, plywood, sheets of metal, personal and household items and a general mix of heavy and light materials. Six miles out, the debris includes smaller sizes of insulation pieces, plastic siding, shingles, pieces of wood, metal, paper, and miscellaneous debris.

A challenge will be getting debris out of the fields before spring green-up. There is some concern that livestock may eat the fiberglass insulation out of curiosity or in hay and that it may block the digestive system. If you would like a volunteer group to go over fields and pick up debris let me know.

Wade White will coordinate the volunteers. Much of the debris is not visible from a distance and it is important to get into the fields and take a closer look.

Another concern is that nails, glass, and other materials that may have embedded in hay bales stored outside. If you believe your hay has been impacted by these materials the hay should be disposed of in a ditch or some other area. There are many people and organizations that want to donate hay and we will work to get you new hay to feed your horses or livestock. There is also feed and other materials available.

If you have barn, shed or fence damage on your farm we need to hear from you if you would like assistance with materials or other aid. Arthur Dunn with NRCS in Princeton and myself have attempted to contact farmers in the path of the tornado to estimate damage. A Kentucky Ag Disaster Fund is available to supply aid and there is aid in fencing, feed and other materials from the Kentucky Cattlemen’s Association and several other groups. There are 70 round bales of hay at the Lee S. Jones Park and a truckload of supplies coming in next week.

The USDA has several programs available to assist in the event of a natural disaster that are administered by the Farm Service Agency in Princeton. These include:

• Livestock Indemnity Program that can assist with losses. These losses must be submitted within 30 days of Dec. 10.

• Emergency Assistance Program for livestock honeybees and farm-raised fish for losses.

• Emergency Loan Program to help producers recover from production and physical losses.

• Disaster Set-Aside Program if loan payments cannot be met due to the tornado.

• Emergency Conservation Program helps farmers and ranchers repair damage to farmlands.

• Emergency Forest Restoration Program helps owners of non-industrial private forests restore forest health damaged by natural disasters.

• Noninsured Disaster Assistance Program that pays covered producers of covered noninsurable crops when natural disasters occur for low yields, inventory losses or prevented planting.

These programs require good records and documentation. This may include photos, labor and equipment records, financial records. The FSA Administrator’s Physical Loss Notification (APLN) can cover physical losses such as buildings and livestock lost due to a tornado. The Farm Service Agency can assist you with these programs.

For additional assistance call the Lyon County Extension Office at 270-388-2341 or leave a message for me at 270-625-5951. Educational programs of the Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of economic or social status and will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, creed, religion, political belief, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expressions, pregnancy, marital status, genetic information, age, veteran status, or physical or mental disability.