Friday, September 08, 2017

Irma and Andrew and FSA

Hurricane Irma is being compared with hurricane Andrew, which devastated southern Florida back in 1992 as a category 5 hurricane.  Agriculture took a big hit then, IIRC mostly vegetables and nursery crops grown by producers who'd never had contact with FSA.  The FSA disaster programs then could cover some of the damage, though I don't remember whether Congress passed new legislation or whether existing law was adequate.

Because of the new producers, FSA had a problem of getting producer name and address and farm data loaded into the System/36's.  We were still using old COBOL code written back in the mid-80's, some of the first code written for the System/36.  Back then neither the Kansas City system designers nor Washington program specialists really knew what we were doing.  (Harshaw's law: you never do it right the first time.)  There multiple screens for data loading, moving from screen to screen was slow, and updating the file was slow. 

Consequently FSA got a black eye in Dade county, IIRC.

Shouldn't happen with Irma.  For one thing it sounds as if urbanization in the last 25 years has replaced agriculture.  FSA's programs likely cover less of the agriculture remaining as crop insurance has partially replaced FSA, except for NAP.  FSA likely already has records for the producers and its software is better.

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