WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today said that farmers and ranchers will receive additional Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) funds to repair farmland damaged by natural disasters in 2010.
"President Obama and I are committed to helping farmers and ranchers restore farmland severely damaged by natural disasters as part of continued efforts to provide a safety net to producers, support food and fiber production and improve the environment," said Vilsack.
An additional $8.9 million is being provided to farmers and ranchers in affected areas. Previously this fiscal year (2011), $2.3 million in ECP funding was provided to producers in eight states. A total of $53.8 million in ECP funding was provided to producers in 38 states in fiscal year 2010.
Producers may use ECP assistance to remove farmland debris, restore fences, grade and shape land, and repair existing conservation structures damaged by drought, floods and other natural disasters and to implement emergency water conservation measures required because of severe drought.
For land to be eligible, the natural disaster must have created new conservation problems on that land, that:
• If untreated, will impair or endanger the land;
• Materially affects 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. Untreated conservation damage that existed before the natural disaster is not eligible for cost-share assistance. USDA's Farm Service Agency (FSA) county committees determine if land is eligible for ECP by conducting on-site damage inspections that take into account the type and extent of damage.
The states, counties and estimated dollar amounts for this round of ECP allocations are:
|Texas||Hildalgo, Starr, Willasy||$7,200,000||Hurricane|
|Virginia||Albemarle, Bath Fluvanna, Goochland Louisa||$110,000||Drought|
A national map with a visual depiction of disaster types and the counties receiving FSA funds this week is on the FSA website at http://go.usa.gov/CCh For further information about eligibility requirements and applications, producers may visit their FSA county office or online at http://disaster.fsa.usda.gov.