Eligibility for Emergency Conservation Program assistance

Fire and drought have caused severe damage in Petroleum County and drought has caused severe damage in Fergus County. Farms and ranches suffering from drought and/or fire damage may be eligible for assistance under the Emergency Conservation Program administered by the Fergus-Petroleum County Farm Service Agency.

For land to be eligible, the natural disaster must create new conservation problems that, if untreated, would:

• be so costly to rehabilitate that Federal assistance is or will be needed to return the land to productive agricultural use;

• is unusual and is not the type that would recur frequently in the same area;

• affect the productive capacity of the farmland;

• impair or endanger the land.

A producer qualifying for ECP assistance may receive cost-share levels not to exceed 75 percent of the eligible cost of restoration measures. No producer is eligible for more than $200,000 cost sharing per natural disaster occurrence. The following types of measures are eligible:

• ECP-Drought (Petroleum and Fergus counties): restoring water conservation structures and other similar installations

• ECP-Fire (Petroleum County): restoring fences and water conservation structures

Fergus and Petroleum counties: Producers who have suffered a loss of an available water source due to the drought may contact the Fergus-Petroleum FSA County Office and request assistance from Aug. 7 through Sept. 6.

Petroleum County: Producers who have suffered fence and conservation structure losses due to the fire may contact the Fergus-Petroleum FSA County Office and request assistance from Aug. 7 through Sept. 6.

To be eligible for assistance, practices must not be started until all of the following are met:

• an application for cost-share assistance has been filed;

• an onsite inspection of the damaged area and an environmental assessment conducted;

• the agency responsible for technical assistance, such as the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), has made an ECP eligibility determination.

For more information about ECP, please contact the Fergus-Petroleum County FSA Office at 538-3489, ext. 2., or visit www.fsa.usda.gov.

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