DC lawmakers introduce legislation to help farmers after hurricane
“Irene had a devastating impact on our farms, ruining crops, killing livestock, damaging infrastructure, putting our local rural economies in peril,” said Congressman Tonko. “We need to do everything we can to provide the resources that will help our agriculture industry recover and rebuild. I will continue to stand with my colleagues to ensure the federal response meets the needs of our communities.”
“I have had the opportunity to tour local farms that have sustained damage from spring flooding -- and now Hurricane Irene – and I have seen firsthand the need for this emergency funding to get New York’s agricultural community back on its feet,” said Owens. “So much depends on New York farmers receiving the assistance they need to get back to the business of employing workers, growing crops, and contributing to the food security of our nation. I thank Senators Schumer and Gillibrand as well as my House colleagues Maurice Hinchey, Paul Tonko and Chris Gibson for their work on critical issue.”
Emergency Conservation Program
The ECP is coordinated through USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) to provide emergency funding and technical assistance for farmers and ranchers to repair farmland damaged by natural disasters, and to carry out emergency water conservation measures during severe drought. Conservation practices include removing debris, restoring fences and conservation structures, and providing water for livestock.
For land to be eligible for ECP resources, the natural disaster must create new conservation programs that if left untreated would impair or endanger the land; materially affect the land’s productive capacity; represent unusual damage; and be so costly to repair that federal assistance is or will be required to return the land to productive agricultural use.
ECP program participants receive cost-share assistance of up to 75 percent of the cost to implement approved conservation practices determined by county FSA committees. Individual or cumulative requests for cost-sharing of $50,000 or less per person, per disaster are approved at the county committee level, $50,001 to $100,000 is approved at the state level, and over $100,000 is approved at the federal level. Technical assistance may be provided by the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).