Farmers and ranchers could benefit from #036;3 million in emergency funds

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 20, 2004

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has provided more than $3 million in Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) funding to Virginia due to Hurricane Isabel, Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman announced.

&uot;This funding will help farmers and ranchers rehabilitate farmland damaged by severe weather,&uot; Veneman said.

USDA is providing the funds as a result of unused allocations from other states. ECP funds are disbursed to states by disaster in the order that the requests are received. As each disaster situation is addressed in a state, any funds not needed by the state are reallocated to other states for disasters.

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&uot;ECP provides financial and technical assistance,&uot; USDA FSA State Executive Director Jacquelin Easter said, &uot;to help produces remove debris from farmland, restore fences and conservation structures, provide water for livestock in drought situations and grade and shape farmland damaged by a natural disaster.&uot;

Eligible producers will receive cost-share assistance of up to 75 percent of the cost of the approved practice, as determined by FSA county committee.

Producers should check with their local FSA offices regarding ECP sign-up periods, which are set by the county FSA committees.

The committees determine producer eligibility based on on-site inspections of damage. Conservation problems existing prior to the applicable disaster are ineligible for ECP assistance.

More information on ECP and other disaster assistance programs is available at local FSA offices and online at