FSA ice storm damage program

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By The Staff

Agricultural producers who suffered damage as a result of the January 2009 ice storm may request cost-share assistance from USDA to rehabilitate damaged farmlands. The Emergency Conservation Program (ECP), administered by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Farm Service Agency FSA), provides cost-share assistance when disaster damage is so severe that recovery without federal assistance is unlikely. Requests for assistance will be accepted at the local FSA Service Center from February 10 until April 13, 2009.

A producer qualifying for ECP assistance may receive cost-share for debris removal and fence restoration where the damage to farmland impairs or endangers the operation of the farm. Fences must be used for agricultural purposes. Ornamental fences are not eligible for assistance. Under ECP, cost-share assistance is limited to $200,000 per person per natural disaster. Conservation problems existing prior to the disaster are ineligible for ECP assistance.

To be eligible for cost-shared under ECP, practices should not be started until a request has been filed at the FSA Service Center and an on-site inspection has been made by as FSA representative. Producers who have taken emergency actions before filing an application may be eligible if it is determined that such action was necessary to prevent further loss. Producers who have taken action before this announcement may be eligible for assistance if an application is filed within 15 calendar days from February 10, 2009. Approval of cost-share for practices started before filing an application or before the program announcement must meet all criteria for federal cost-share assistance including compliance with environmental regulations.