July 17, 2009
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack this week announced that farmers and ranchers will receive approximately $71 million in Emergency Conservation Program funds to repair farmland damaged by natural disasters that happened in 2008 and 2009.
The money will be used to remove farmland debris; restore fences; grade and shape land; repair conservation structures that were damaged by floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, storms and wildfires; and carry out emergency water conservation measures after severe drought.
For land to be eligible, the natural disaster must have created conservation problems that, if untreated, would 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 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 land to be eligible. Conservation issues that existed before the disaster are not eligible for cost-share assistance. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency (FSA) county committees determine land eligibility based on on-site inspections of damage, taking into account the type and extent of damage.
A detailed list of counties and associated specific disasters is on FSA's Web site at www.fsa.usda.gov/Internet/FSA_File/ecpcounties3.pdf