USDA to provide funds to repair farmland damaged by natural disasters

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WASHINGTON — Farmers and ranchers will receive $77 million in Emergency Conservation Program funds to repair farmland damaged by natural disasters in 2008, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer.

Producers will be able to use the money to remove farmland debris, restore fences and repair conservation structures which were damaged by floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, storms, wildfires, and to carry out emergency water conservation measures after severe drought.

Eligibility

For land to be eligible, the natural disaster must create new conservation problems that if untreated, will impair or endanger the land; materially affect the land’s productive capacity; represent unusual damage that, except for wind erosion, is not likely to recur frequently in the same area and would be so costly to repair that federal assistance is or will be required to return the land to productive agricultural use.

All of the above conditions must be met for eligibility. Conservation problems that existed before the disaster are not eligible for cost-share assistance.

USDA’s Farm Service Agency county committees determine land eligibility based on on-site inspections of damage, taking into account the type and extent of damage.

States, dollar amounts

The states and estimated dollar amounts for the Emergency Conservation Program are:

Arkansas $1,040,000

California $168,000

Georgia $3,339,000

Hawaii $97,000

Illinois $447,000

Indiana $13,013,000

Iowa $17,560,000

Kansas $1,184,000

Kentucky $67,000

Louisiana $16,000,000

Maine $10,000

Michigan $59,000

Mississippi $337,000

Missouri $3,420,000

Montana $927,000

Nebraska $892,000

N. Hampshire $195,000

New Mexico $1,200,000

New York $10,000

N. Carolina $40,000

Ohio $375,000

S. Carolina $95,000

Tennessee $2,758,000

Texas $13,729,000

Utah $45,000

Virginia $20,000

A detailed list of counties and associated specific disasters is available at www.fsa.usda.gov/Internet/FSA_File/ecpcounties2.pdf.

A national map with a visual depiction of the affected counties and disaster types is available at www.fsa.usda.gov/Internet/FSA_File/ecpmap2.pdf.

The remainder of funds will be allocated as additional requests are processed.

More information

For further information on eligibility requirements as well as applications, producers may visit their local Farm Service Agency office or http://disaster.fsa.usda.gov.

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