Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) funds are being made available to farmers and ranchers in 14 states to repair farmland damaged by natural disasters in 2010.
"USDA is committed to helping farmers and ranchers restore conservation measures on farmland devastated by the recent floods, tornadoes and other disasters," said Vilsack. "These funds will help producers recover from several potentially devastating events, and further USDA's ongoing efforts to maintain a healthy agricultural economy that conserves our environment."
Eligible producers in 11 states will be able to use the more than $12 million being made available through ECP to remove farmland debris, restore fences, grade and shape land, and repair conservation structures that were damaged by floods, tornadoes, or wildfires and to carry out emergency water conservation measures after severe drought.
For land to be eligible, the natural disaster must have damaged existing conservation measures 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 (FSA) county committees determine land eligibility based on on-site inspections of damage, taking into account the type and extent of damage.