Altus – The Jackson County Farm Service Agency Committee has been approved to implement the Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) due to the recent flood and tornado damage that occurred during May and June. The ECP program provides cost-share assistance for farmers and ranchers to rehabilitate land severely damaged by the natural disaster events. Assistance may include removal of debris, repair of conservation structures, such as dams and terraces, repair of sheet and rill erosion, and/or fence restoration or replacement. Funding for ECP is appropriated by Congress; however, funding for this program has not yet been approved.
The County FSA Committee (COC) determines land eligibility on an individual basis from on-site inspections of damage, taking into account the type and extent of damage. When needed or required, technical assistance may be provided by USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service for certain conservation practices. The COC shall determine which cases are truly emergency situations and whether the damage is of sufficient magnitude that it would be too costly for the producer to rehabilitate without Federal assistance. The minimum qualifying cost of restoration is $1,000. Assistance will not be provided if the applicant clearly has adequate financial resources and COC determines that the applicant can repair the damage without assistance and without causing a financial hardship.
For land to be eligible, the natural disaster must create new conservation problems that, if untreated, would: impair or endanger the land; materially affect the land’s productive capacity; represent unusual damage which, except for wind erosion, is not the type likely to recur frequently in the same area; and be so costly to repair that Federal assistance is or will be required to return the land to productive agricultural use. Areas subject to flooding according to soil survey maps are not eligible for assistance.
The following types of measures may be eligible: removing debris from farmland; grading, shaping, or releveling severely damaged farmland; restoring permanent fences; restoring conservation structures and other similar installations. Terraces, waterways, and farmland damaged by flooding may be eligible for cost-share assistance if located in an eligible area.
Note: Conservation problems existing prior to the applicable disaster are ineligible for ECP assistance.