USDA SENDS $9 MILLION IN CONSERVATION FUNDS TO HELP PRODUCERS AFFECTED BY HURRICANES KATRINA AND RITA
Brings Emergency Conservation Funding Total to $29 Million
WESTWEGO, La., Sept. 30, 2005 - Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns today announced $9 million in Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) funds are now available for Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas producers to repair environmental damage caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. These funds are in addition to more than $20 million in ECP funding provided on September 7.
"USDA is committed to helping farmers and ranchers recover from the effects of the hurricanes," said Johanns. "These emergency conservation funds, along with millions of dollars in aid we've already sent to the region, will help rebuild land, farms and businesses."
These funds will help farmers and ranchers repair environmental damage caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Tennessee. Producers can use ECP funds to remove farmland debris, restore fences and repair conservation structures. It will also help pay for grading and shaping storm damaged farmland. Of the $9 million announced today, Alabama producers receive $1 million, Louisiana $4.5 million, Mississippi $2.5 million and Texas $1 million.
In order to be eligible, hurricane damage must create new conservation problems that will impair or endanger the land and affect future production if repairs are not made.
Farm Service Agency (FSA) state and county committees administer the program and set ECP sign-up periods. Locally-elected county committees can implement ECP for all disasters except drought, which receives authorization from the national FSA office. Eligible producers receive 100 percent cost-share assistance as determined by FSA county committees. Producers should check with their local FSA office regarding ECP sign-up periods.
USDA offers additional programs to help farmers and ranchers recover from natural disasters. These programs include the Emergency Loan Program, Federal Crop Insurance and the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program.
More information on ECP and other disaster assistance programs is available at local FSA offices and online at: http://disaster.fsa.usda.gov.