USDA MAKES $63 MILLION IN EMERGENCY CONSERVATION PROGRAM AID AVAILABLE FOR AGRICULTURAL PRODUCERS AFFECTED BY HURRICANES
ANAHEIM, Calif., March 3, 2006 -- Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns announced today that USDA is making $63 million in Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) funds available to assist agricultural producers struck by hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico region during the calendar year 2005.
"USDA was on the ground providing food and housing assistance in the immediate aftermath and we remain committed to the recovery" Johanns said. "These funds are one more way we are reaching out to help Gulf Coast farmers rehabilitate operations damaged by last year's devastating hurricanes.
Producers in counties that were declared presidential or secretarial disaster areas due to hurricanes of 2005 are eligible.
Eligible agricultural producers may receive up to 100 percent cost-share to remove debris and restore fences and conservation structures.
This $63 million is the first allocation from $199.8 million available in ECP funds. Additional funds for oyster, nursery and poultry producers and forest landowners will be made available when new rules authorizing assistance are published in the Federal Register. USDA's Farm Service Agency (FSA) is developing these rules and plans to publish proposed rules for public comment in the near future.
For additional information and to apply for ECP assistance, eligible producers should visit their local FSA office.
The ECP assistance is part of a $2.8 billion USDA package of aid to help agricultural producers and rural communities recover from the 2005 hurricane season. For more information on ECP and other USDA disaster aid programs, visit your local FSA office and FSA's Web site at: http://disaster.fsa.usda.gov/fsa.asp.