USDA to Release Funds for Conservation Disaster Assistance

The agency will provide $77 million to repaire damage caused by hurricanes, floods and drought.

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:
Arkansas $1,040,000
California $168,000
Georgia $3,339,000
Hawaii $97,000
Illinois $447,000
Indiana $13,013,000
Iowa $17,560,000
Kansas $1,184,000
Kentucky $67,000
Louisiana $16,000,000
Maine $10,000
Michigan $59,000
Mississippi $337,000
Missouri $3,420,000
Montana $927,000
Nebraska $892,000
New Hampshire $195,000
New Mexico $1,200,000
New York $10,000
North Carolina $40,000
Ohio $375,000
South Carolina $95,000
Tennessee $2,758,000
Texas $13,729,000
Utah $45,000
Virginia $20,000
Grand Total $77,027,000

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