When a disaster strikes, the Texas Department of Agriculture works with CEs to ensure that operations can get back up and running as soon as possible. TDA can assist contracting entities (CEs) during two phases of disaster.
Phase 1: Immediately Following a Disaster
TDA provides assistance to schools authorized by the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) to serve as a shelter or meal providers for evacuees
Phase 2: When Operations are Ready to Begin Again
TDA will issue guidance on federal regulations' flexibilities to accommodate operational challenges during a disaster.
During a Disaster
Immediately following a disaster, the goal is to ensure that operations can get back up and running. CE’s should consider the following:
- The condition and availability of facility, equipment and inventory
- Emergency procurement options
- Revised eligibility status for homeless and displaced students or participants
- Regulatory flexibilities offered by TDA to accommodate operational obstacles
During a large-scale natural catastrophe, fire, flood, or explosion that is a presidentially-declared disaster, TDA encourages CEs to check Squaremeals.org and TXUNPS for updates on disaster guidance related to regulatory flexibilities.
During smaller scale disasters or situations of distress, CEs should contact a TDA representative to discuss what resources, support, and guidance TDA can offer.
For questions about schools that are serving as a shelter or meal provider to evacuees, administrators may contact TDA at firstname.lastname@example.org or (877) TEX MEAL (839-6325).
Preparing for a Disaster
Preparing for a disaster is an important and crucial step. Smart planning can help you respond if a disaster strikes. Preparedness planning can take many forms and involve a variety of steps.
Consider the Inconceivable
No planning process is complete without considering a multitude of scenarios. When developing a disaster response plan, make sure you consider multiple scenarios including the ability to access physical buildings, data centers, and connect to the Internet.
Develop Your Plan and Team
Documenting a disaster plan is a critical step in disaster preparedness. The resources below can help you develop a comprehensive disaster plan:
Establish Mutually-Supportive Relationships
Consider relationships with other CEs, city, and county officials that may be able to assist during a disaster. Form relationships now and discuss potential areas of support and assistance.
Understand USDA Regulations Related to a Disaster
Although each disaster has a different set of circumstances, the below guidance from USDA applies in many scenarios:
Keep Food Safe Before, During, and After a Disaster or Emergency
Disasters and emergencies can mean power outages, floods, and other problems that can affect the safety of food. Knowing what to do before, during, and after disasters can help you reduce food spoilage and decrease your risk of foodborne illness. The following resources provide guidance on how to prepare for emergencies, keep food safe during emergencies, and assess food safety after the emergency is over.
Other Disaster Support and Information
TDA also supports the Texas State Operations Center by providing USDA Foods to emergency shelters during a disaster. TDA works closely with the Feeding Texas representative at the Texas State Operations Center to address the food banks’ needs and applies for the Disaster Household Distribution Program based on the feedback of the impacted food banks. For more information on the support TDA provides during a disaster, visit: