Pecan growers in many counties across the state were greatly affected by the October 26-27 ice storm. Recently the state FSA office sent out information about the Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) that may benefit growers recovering from the recent ice storm. The ECP is set up to assist with damage to agricultural land from weather events like the ice storm, tornadoes, and wildfires.
Details to participate are important and the FSA office should be contacted prior to clean-up with any disaster event. An FSA representative will come out to assess the damage and discuss which damage is eligible for reimbursement. This program will not be widely publicized, but it is left up to the affected growers to contact their FSA office to check on eligibility and to request the program in their county. The county FSA committee will determine whether or not the program should be initiated.
Documentation will be key to getting assistance. The FSA office will not cover any costs that were not inspected prior to the start of cleanup. The program is designed to help producers pay for damage that they would not be able to pay for by any other means (insurance or conservation programs). ECP is only for commercial agricultural producers, and only applies to agricultural land. Producers will need to understand the eligible expenses and how to document properly to recover these costs. All restored practices must meet NRCS standards and specifications.
Many growers began cleanup soon after the ice damage in October occurred and may not be eligible for assistance but with documentation in photos or video, it wouldn’t hurt to contact the local county office. Those that did not begin cleanup, will have an easier case for help.
Emergency conservation practices that may be implemented include debris removal; grading, shaping, releveling; restoration of fences; restoring conservation structures.
Ineligible expenses include fuel costs (diesel, gas, etc.); mileage; maintenance; equipment purchases; equipment repair; work clothing (hats, gloves, etc.).
For more information, contact the local FSA office or Dr. Amy Hagerman, OSU Ag and Food Policy Specialist. firstname.lastname@example.org