Yesterday, U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a $209-million package of disaster assistance to help Eastern Seaboard farmers, land owners and communities recover from the effects of Superstorm Sandy. Presidential Disaster Declared counties in the following states are eligible: Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, and West Virginia.
Here's a quick take on what'll be available through three emergency programs:
Emergency Watershed Protection Program: Up to $171 million to help communities recover from imminent hazards, such as debris-clogged stream channels; undermined and unstable stream banks; jeopardized water control structures and public infrastructures; wind-borne debris removal; and damaged upland sites stripped of protective vegetation. Public and private landowners are eligible, but must be represented by a project sponsor.
Natural Resources Conservation Service can pay up to 75% of construction cost of emergency measures or up to 90% in limited-resource areas. Remaining cost-share must come from local sources in the form of cash or in-kind services.
Emergency Conservation Program: Some $15 million is available to producers to help remove debris from farmland, restore livestock fences and conservation structures, and grade and shape farmland damaged by the disaster. Farm Service Agency county committees determine eligibility based on on-site inspections of damaged land and considering the type and extent of damage.
Emergency Forest Restoration Program: Some $23 million is available to eligible owners of nonindustrial private forest land to carry out emergency measures to restore damaged land. That land must have existing tree cover, or had tree cover immediately before Superstorm Sandy and is suitable for growing trees. It also must be owned by any nonindustrial private individual, group, association, corporation, or other private legal entity.
ECP and EFRP participants may receive up to 75% cost-share assistance to implement approved emergency practices. Qualified limited-resource producers may receive up to 90% cost-share assistance.
For further information on eligibility requirements and applications, visit a local FSA county office or the FSA website at disaster.fsa.usda.gov . For information on Presidential Disaster Declaration, please visit www.disasterassistance.gov/ .