FSA accepting program applications for storm damage

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U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) is accepting applications from Orleans County for the Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) to address damages to farmland, notably maple orchards, from high winds on October 29 and 30, 2017. ECP signup has begun and will end on March 9.

ECP is administered by FSA to assist producers with the cost of recovery activities required to restore the agricultural land to pre-disaster conditions. Producers who sustained damage from this disaster event are encouraged to submit their request for assistance prior to beginning reconstructive work. Submitting a request after completing qualified reconstructive work may result in forfeiture of program eligibility.

“I realize that there are extenuating circumstances that must be addressed for livestock safety and health reasons, but I strongly recommend at least calling our office before any action is taken,” said Heather Mateja, FSA executive director.

FSA county committees will complete an evaluation of submitted requests and obligate available funds based on an on-site inspection of the damaged land, taking into consideration the type and extent of the eligible damage. Completion of the on-site inspection does not guarantee that cost-share funding will be allocated.

The use of obligated funds is limited 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. Approved ECP applicants may receive up to 75 percent of the cost of completing the approved restoration activity.

For more information on ECP, please contact the Newport County FSA office at 334-6090. — from the USDA.

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