Federal farm assistance approved for ice storm damage

By | March 31, 2015 2:35 pm

Emergency Conservation Program has been approved for White, Van Buren and Putnam counties. Signup for the program will be April 1-30, 2015, at the Farm Service Agency Office, 749 Millers Point Road, in Sparta. Interested persons should immediately call (931) 738-7822 ext. 2 or toll free 1-888-400-5441 ext. 2 or email jennifer.wilson@tn.usda.gov or sheri.crain@tn.usda.gov to learn information needed when completing application forms. Office hours are  8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday.

ECP will provide cost-share assistance to rehabilitate farmlands damaged by the ice storm by helping with debris cleanup from fields and access roadways where the debris interferes with normal farming operations and productive capacity of the land. In some cases major damage to permanent fences may qualify for cost-share assistance. ECP will not assist with woodland or forest.

A minimum of $1,000 in qualifying damage per individual is required as the purpose of the program is to provide assistance where damage to the land will be “so costly to rehabilitate that Federal assistance is or will be required to return the land to productive agricultural use”. Limited resource producers must have sustained an estimated minimum of $250 in damages to qualify for ECP. Limited resource producers also qualify for a 90 percent cost-share rate with non-limited resource producers reimbursed at a 75 percent cost-share rate. For 2015 persons qualify for limited resource status if in each year 2012 and 2013 gross farm sales did not exceed $176,800 and in each year 2012 and 2013 the total household adjusted gross income does not exceed $23,850.

What should landowners with significant damage to agricultural land do? Call the Farm Service Agency immediately. If possible, do not begin clearing debris or restoration as any work done prior to an environmental evaluation may be ineligible for cost-share payment. Remember the signup deadline of April 30, 2015.

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