The North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has set up a website and hotline to help connect farmers who were affected by last Saturday’s tornadoes to the resources they need to help rebuild their farms.

The Agricultural Tornado Assistance Program, or AgTAP, can be found at www.ncagr.gov/agtap. It is in response to the needs that North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler witnessed when he visited storm-ravaged farms earlier this week.

“The damage we saw across central and eastern North Carolina is just devastating,” said Troxler. “This is one of the busiest times of the year for a farmer, and these families can’t put a crop in the ground because the tractors are mangled or the fields are covered in debris.

“It’s crippling to the farm and to their livelihood. For many, the cleanup effort is an overwhelming challenge, but I hope we can help them on the road to recovery.”

The AgTAP website provides links to resources that farmers need. The site offers an equipment and plant exchange for farmers to connect with others who have plants and equipment for sale or are in need of plants and equipment. There also is a volunteer exchange forum where farmers who need extra help can ask for assistance.

Farmers without computers can call the AgTAP hotline toll-free at 1-866-506-6222 to speak with an NCDA&CS representative. The hotline will be staffed from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. The hotline will also be staffed on Friday, April 22 and Saturday, April 23 from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.

EDITOR’S NOTE — The photograph accompanying this article was provided by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services