U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Executive Director John Roberts announced that all Vermont County FSA offices are now accepting applications for the Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) to cost-share with producers for damages to farmland resulting from the July rainstorms that caused flooding in Vermont counties. ECP signup will begin on Monday, September 18, 2023 and end on Friday, November 17, 2023.
The approved ECP practices under this authorization include:
• EC1-Removing Debris from Farmland
• EC2 – Grading, Shaping, Releveling
• EC3 Replacing or Restoring Permanent Fences
• EC4 – Restoring Conservation Structures and Other Installations
• EC7-Other Emergency Conservation Measures including maple sugarbush restoration and sap collection infrastructure repair
ECP assists producers with the recovery cost to restore the land to pre-disaster, productive conditions. Approved ECP applicants may be eligible to receive up to 75 percent of the cost of approved restoration activity. Limited resource, socially disadvantaged, and beginning farmers and ranchers may be eligible to receive up to 90 percent cost-share.
“Dealing with natural disasters is never easy, especially when you have to consider the health and safety of livestock, but it’s important for producers to call our office before they take any action,” said SED Roberts.
Producers with damage from this weather event should apply for assistance prior to beginning reconstructive work. However, producers may still be eligible to participate if restoration work has already been started.
FSA County Committees will evaluate applications based on an on-site inspection of the damaged land, taking into consideration the type and extent of damage. An on-site inspection does not guarantee that cost-share funding will be provided.
The 2018 Farm Bill increased the payment limitation to for ECP to $500,000 per disaster. The use of ECP funds is limited to activities to return the land to the relative pre-disaster condition. Conservation concerns that were present on the land prior to the disaster are not eligible for ECP assistance.
For more information on ECP, or to begin the application process, contact the Farm Service Agency Service Center that covers the damaged land or visit farmers.gov/recover. County office contact information can be found using the Service Center Locator tool on the website Farmers.gov: https://www.farmers.gov/working-with-us/service-center-locator.
Vermont USDA Service Centers:
Addison (802-388-6748) 66 Catamount Park, Middlebury, VT 05753
Franklin/Grand Isle (802-527-1296), 50 S. Main Street, St. Albans, VT 05478
Rutland/Bennington (802-775-8034) 170 S. Main Street, Rutland, VT 05701
Caledonia/Essex (802-748-2641) 481 Summer St., St. Johnsbury, VT 05819
Lamoille (802-888-4935), 109 Professional Drive, Morrisville, VT 05661
Windham (802-254-9766), 28 Vernon Street, Brattleboro, VT 05301
Chittenden/Washington (802-288-8155, 94 Harvest Lane, Williston, VT 05495
Orleans (802-334-6090), 59 Waterfront Plaza, Newport, VT 05855
Windsor/Orange (802-295-7942), 28 Farmvu Drive, White River Jct., VT 05001