Agricultural producers who suffered severe damage from Hurricane Ian, may be eligible for assistance under the Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) administered by USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA). But, to be eligible, USDA approval is required before producers can begin repair efforts.
Deborah Tannebaum, State Executive Director of the Farm Service Agency (FSA) in Florida, explained to Southeast AgNet’s Randall Weiseman what land is eligible for ECP.
For land to be eligible, Hurricane Ian must have created 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
- environmental compliance requirements have been met
Unlike what USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service has announced regarding early start waivers for their Environment Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), to be eligible for FSA’s ECP assistance, practices must not be started until all 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 onsite inspection of the damaged area
- the Agency responsible for technical assistance has made a needs determination, which may include cubic yards of earthmoving, etc., required for rehabilitation
For more information about ECP, contact your USDA Service Center before starting repair efforts.
For Florida producers located in counties where the USDA Farm Service Agency’s (FSA) local infrastructure has been impacted and office may be closed, we have established a state-specific toll-free information line where producers in need can receive immediate information regarding available FSA assistance.
If your local FSA office is closed, you can contact the FSA Call Center at 1-877-508-8364. The line is staffed Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET. Or you can e-mail your information to email@example.com.