ADERHOLT OFFICE: STATE TO RECEIVE $735,000 IN ECP FUNDING
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Congressman Robert Aderholt (R-Haleyville) says he received notification from U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns that the USDA is releasing $735,000 in emergency funding for Alabama farmers hurt by the drought.
According to a spokesman in Aderholt's office, the funding is in addition to the $1,049,300 in ECP funding announced Aug. 20.
Counties that will be eligible for these Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) funds include: Autauga, Bibb, Butler, Cherokee, Chilton, Crenshaw, Cullman, DeKalb, Dallas, Etowah, Lowndes, Marshall, Perry and St. Clair.
"While the federal government has provided some relief in the form of low interest loans, the farmers I've spoken with say this isn't enough," said Aderholt. "(This) announcement is a positive one but more must be done. There is also the issue of how quickly this aid will get to them. Time is critical to save pastures and livestock in the areas that have been hit hardest by this record drought."
The ECP program gives producers additional resources to remove debris from farmland, restore fences and conservation structures, provide water for livestock in drought situations and grade and shape farmland damaged by a natural disaster.
The program is administered by FSA's state and county committees. Locally-elected county committees are authorized to implement ECP for all disasters except drought, which is authorized at the national office of FSA. Eligible producers will receive cost-share assistance of up to 75 percent of the cost of the approved practice, as determined by FSA county committees.
"This is one of several conservation programs that provide funding for farmers and ranchers to rehabilitate and strengthen environmental stewardship of their lands," Johanns said. "These new ECP funds will be used to help farmers and ranchers rehabilitate farmland damaged by (wind erosion, floods, hurricanes, drought) and other natural disasters in recent years."
Producers should check with their local FSA offices regarding ECP sign-up periods, which are set by the county FSA committees. For a producer's land to be eligible, the disaster must create new conservation problems that, if untreated, would impair or endanger the land and affect its productive capacity. Conservation problems existing prior to the applicable disaster are ineligible for ECP assistance.
USDA offers additional programs to help farmers and ranchers recover from damages caused by natural disasters. These programs include the Emergency Loan Program, Federal Crop Insurance and the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program.
More information on ECP and other disaster assistance programs is available at local FSA offices and online at: www.fsa.usda.gov.