The Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) helps farmers and ranchers to repair damage to farmlands caused by natural disasters and to help put in place methods for water conservation during severe drought. The ECP does this by giving ranchers and farmers funding and assistance to repair the damaged farmland or to install methods for water conservation.
FSA also has a related program for emergency forest restoration.
Is My Farm Eligible?
The FSA County Committee inspects the damage to determine if land is eligible for ECP. For land to qualify for ECP funds, the damage from the natural disaster or severe drought must create new conservation problems that if not dealt with would:
- Further damage the land
- Significantly affect the land’s productive capacity
- Represent damage from a natural disaster unusual for the area (an exception to this is damage from wind erosion)
- Be too costly to repair without Federal assistance in order to return the land to agricultural production
Technical assistance to fix the conservation problem may also be provided by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).
Conservation problems that existed before the disaster or severe drought are ineligible for ECP assistance.
How Does the Funding Work?
The funding for ECP is determined by Congress. Up to 75% of the cost to implement emergency conservation practices can be provided, however the final amount is determined by the committee reviewing the application. Qualified limited resource producers may earn up to 90% cost-share. The FSA County Committee is able to approve applications up to $50,000 while $50,001 to $100,000 requires state committee approval. Amounts over $100,000 require the approval of the national FSA office.
Farmers and ranchers should check with their local FSA office to find out about ECP sign-up periods, which are set by the FSA County Committee.