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$87.5 MILLION AIDS PRODUCERS PROTECTING CONSERVATION USES AFTER FLOODS AND DROUGHT

MITCHELL, S.D., Aug. 21, 2008 - Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer announced that farmers and ranchers will receive USDA funding to repair land damage created by natural disasters in 34 states since September 2007.

Producers will use the $87.5 million in Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) funding for removal of farmland debris, restoring fences and repairing conservation structures which were caused or damaged by floods, and for carrying out emergency water conservation measures in response to severe drought.

"This funding will allow farmers and ranchers to repair the unusually harsh damage to conservation efforts caused by the disaster conditions, notably flooding and drought," said Schafer. "USDA has worked shoulder to shoulder with producers when weather turns against them, and we remain involved to help in the weeks and months of recovery afterward."

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

if untreated, will impair or endanger the land;

materially affect the land's productive capacity;

represent unusual damage that, except for wind erosion, is not of the type likely to recur frequently in the same area; and

would be so costly to repair that federal assistance is or will be required to return the land to productive agricultural use.

All of the above conditions must be met for eligibility. Conservation problems existing prior to the disaster are not eligible for cost-share assistance. FSA county committees determine land eligibility based on on-site inspections of damage, taking into account the type and extent of damage.

The states and estimated dollar amounts for ECP funding are: $87,527,100 to Rehabilitate Lands for Emergency Conservation Needs Alabama $359,000 Mississippi $431,000 Arkansas $4,633,000 Montana $1,683,000 California $27,000 North Carolina $766,000 Colorado $354,600 Nebraska $2,010,000 Connecticut $51,000 Nevada $187,000 Georgia $4,089,000 Oklahoma $10,219,000 Hawaii $415,000 Oregon $579,000 Iowa $12,208,500 South Carolina $782,000 Idaho $93,000 South Dakota $1,825,000 Illinois $9,473,000 Tennessee $4,491,000 Indiana $10,742,000 Texas $5,767,000 Kansas $610,000 Utah $193,000 Kentucky $2,840,000 Virginia $1,400,000 Maine $101,000 Vermont $45,000 Michigan $34,000 Washington $2,298,000 Minnesota $713,000 Wisconsin $3,037,000 Missouri $5,051,000 Wyoming $20,000

A detailed list of counties and associated specific disasters is on FSA's Web site at: http://www.fsa.usda.gov/Internet/FSA_File/ecpcounties.pdf. A national map with a visual depiction of the affected counties and disaster types is on the FSA Web site at: http://www.fsa.usda.gov/Internet/FSA_File/ecpmap.pdf. The $87.5 million comes from an appropriation of $89.4 million for ECP. The remainder will be allocated as additional requests are processed. For further information on eligibility requirements as well as applications, producers may visit their local FSA office or online at http://disaster.fsa.usda.gov.

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