USDA Extends Deadline for Emergency Conservation Program Applications from Florida Producers in 28 Counties

Dan Florida

Ian blown over orange trees tore up irrigation lines in some groves
Permission for use granted by Gene McAvoy,UF IFAS Vegetable Extension Agent Emeritus/Twitter

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has extended the deadline for applications from agricultural producers for the Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) to address damages from Hurricane Ian. The application deadline has been extended to November 27,2023.

ECP provides financial assistance to producers to help them restore their farmland to pre-disaster conditions. Approved ECP applicants may receive up to 75 percent of the cost of an approved restoration activity. Limited resource producers, socially disadvantaged participants and beginning farmers and ranchers may receive up to 90 percent cost-share. The payment limitation for ECP is $500,000 per disaster event

The approved counties for ECP signup are Brevard, Broward, Charlotte, Clay, Collier, DeSoto, Flagler, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, Hillsborough, Indian River, Lake, Lee, Manatee, Martin, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Polk, Putnam, Sarasota, Seminole, St. Johns, St. Lucie, and Volusia.

The approved ECP practices under this authorization for Hurricane Ian recovery include:

  • Removing debris from farmland;
  • Grading, shaping, releveling, or similar measures:
  • Replacing or repairing permanent fences; and
  • Restoring conservation structures and other installations

Hurricane-impacted producers must apply for assistance and receive written approval prior to beginning restoration work. Restoration work initiated prior to written approval may not qualify for ECP assistance.

FSA county committees will evaluate applications based on an applicant’s estimates or measurements of the damaged land, taking into consideration the type and extent of the damage. On-site visits will only be required for conservation structures. Submitting an application does not guarantee that cost-share funding will be provided.

The use of ECP funds is limited to activities to return the land to the relative pre-disaster condition. Conservation concerns that were present on the land prior to the disaster are not eligible for ECP assistance.

More Information

On, the Hurricane resources webpage,  Disaster Assistance Discovery ToolDisaster Assistance-at-a-Glance fact sheet, and Loan Assistance Tool can help producers and landowners determine program or loan options. For assistance with a crop insurance claim, producers and landowners should contact their crop insurance agent. For FSA and NRCS programs, they should contact their local USDA Service Center.