U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Acting State Executive Director Justin Teuton announced that 17 Florida counties are accepting applications for the Emergency Forest Restoration Program (EFRP) to address damages from Hurricane Michael.
EFRP provides payments to eligible owners of nonindustrial private forest (NIPF) land to enable the owners to carry out emergency measures to restore land damaged by a natural disaster. EFRP sign-up began on Oct. 23, 2018, and ends on Dec. 21, 2018.
Impacted producers in Bay, Calhoun, Dixie, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Lafayette, Leon, Liberty, Madison, Taylor, Wakulla, Walton and Washington are eligible to apply for EFRP.
“FSA is ready to help producers impacted by Hurricane Michael,” said Teuton. “I encourage eligible producers to contact their county office as soon as possible to make an appointment to apply.”
NIPF landowners who suffered damage can apply for cost-share assistance at their local USDA Service Center.
After applications are received, the Florida Forest Service will work with FSA to provide technical assistance by evaluating the damage and developing a plan to restore the NIPF land. The local FSA county committee will determine land eligibility and approve applications.
In order to meet eligibility requirements, NIPF land must have existing tree cover or had tree cover immediately before the natural disaster occurred and be sustainable for growing trees. The land must also be owned by any nonindustrial private individual, group, association, corporation or other private legal entity that has definitive decision-making authority over the land. The natural disaster must have resulted in damage that if untreated would impair or endanger the natural resources on the land and/or materially affect future use of the land.
In Florida, the requirement of an onsite inspection prior to beginning debris removal activities has been waived due to extensive hurricane damage.
Source: USDA/Farm Service Agency