Emergency Conservation Program assistance available in 17 Florida counties

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The Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) provides emergency funding and technical assistance to farmers and ranchers to rehabilitate farmland damaged by natural disasters and to implement emergency water conservation measures in periods of severe drought.
The following counties are eligible for ECP assistance: Walton, Holmes, Washington, Bay, Jackson, Calhoun, Gulf, Gadsden, Liberty, Franklin, Leon, Wakulla, Jefferson, Madison, Taylor, Lafayette and Dixie.
For land to be eligible, the natural disaster must create new conservation problems that, if untreated, would:
• be so costly to rehabilitate that Federal assistance is or will be needed to return the land to productive agricultural use
• is unusual and is not the type that would recur frequently in the same area
• affect the productive capacity of the farmland
• impair or endanger the land
A producer qualifying for ECP assistance may receive cost-share levels not to exceed 75 percent of the eligible cost of restoration measures. No producer is eligible for more than $200,000 cost sharing per natural disaster occurrence. The following types of measures may be eligible:
•removing debris from farmland
grading, shaping, or re-leveling severely damaged farmland
• restoring permanent fences
• restoring conservation structures and other similar installations
Producers who suffered a loss from a natural disaster should contact their local FSA Office for ECP deadlines.
To be eligible for assistance, practices must not be started until all of the following are met:
• an application for cost-share assistance has been filed
• the local FSA County Committee (COC) or its representative has conducted an on site inspection of the damaged area
• the Agency responsible for technical assistance, such as the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), has made a needs determination, which may include cubic yards of earthmoving, etc., required for rehabilitation
For more information about ECP, please visit www.fsa.usda.gov.