USDA announced Thursday that $77 million in funds will be available to help farmers whose has been damaged by floods and drought. The funds will be distributed through the Emergency Conservation Program and is for disasters that occurred in 2008.
Producers will be able to use the money to remove farmland debris, restore fences and repair conservation structures which were damaged by floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, storms, wildfires, and to carry out emergency water conservation measures after severe drought.
Schafer says the funds will "allow farmers and ranchers to repair the severe damage to conservation systems caused by disaster conditions from Hurricanes Ike and Gustav, as well as the 2008 Midwest Floods."
For land to eligible, the natural disaster must create new conservation problems that:
- if untreated, will impair or endanger the land;
- materially affect the land's productive capacity;
- represent unusual damage that, except for wind erosion, is not likely to recur frequently in the same area; and
- would be so costly to repair that federal assistance is or will be required to return the land to productive agricultural use.
All of those conditions must be met for eligibility. Conservation problems that existed before the disaster are not eligible for cost-share assistance. USDA's Farm Service Agency county committees determine land eligibility.
Here are the estimated dollar amounts by state:
New Hampshire $195,000
New Mexico $1,200,000
New York $10,000
North Carolina $40,000
South Carolina $95,000
Grand Total $77,027,000