John Whitaker, state executive director for USDA's Farm Service Agency in Iowa, announced on June 14 that an emergency use of Conservation Reserve Program land has been authorized for livestock producers in six counties along the western edge of Iowa affected by flooding of the Missouri River.
The six counties are Fremont, Harrison, Mills, Monona, West Pottawattamie and Woodbury Counties along the western edge of Iowa. "Livestock may be temporarily moved to land enrolled in CRP through July 10, on a case-by-case basis," says Whitaker.
With FSA approval, no payment reduction for this use of CRP land
Through this emergency authorization, no payment reduction for CRP will apply. Authority is limited to livestock producers who have lost pasture or fences due to flooding. No funds will be authorized for water, feed, or other costs. "This emergency authorization will give producers an option for moving their livestock during this stressful time," he notes.
Livestock producers requesting emergency use shall provide to FSA their documentation of flooding conditions including, but not limited to, photographs of flooded pastures and/or livestock areas to support their request. CRP program participants may allow this emergency use of the land to any eligible flood affected livestock producer. "Livestock producers and CRP participants should contact their local FSA office for more information on this emergency use of CRP," says Whitaker.
Damage assessments being conducted in six Iowa counties
Damage assessments are being made in six counties in western Iowa along the Missouri River. The Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Division (HSEMD) are conducting joint damage assessments with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and local officials as a result of flooding which began on May 25, 2011.
Teams are conducting joint preliminary damage assessments (PDAs) beginning June 16 for the federal Public Assistance program. The teams doing the PDAs are comprised of representatives from state, local and federal governments.
Public Assistance joint PDA teams will review damage in six counties along the Missouri River: Fremont, Harrison, Mills, Monona, Pottawattamie and Woodbury. The Public Assistance program provides to public entities and select nonprofit agencies funding to rebuild damaged infrastructure that may include roads, bridges, culverts and other public facilities; or to cover costs of emergency protective measures such as construction of temporary levees, berms, dikes, and sandbagging; pumping of trapped floodwaters that threaten improved property; emergency medical services; activation of a state or local emergency operations center; and emergency evacuations of medical and custodial care facilities.
Data from the joint PDAs could be used by Iowa Governor Branstad to request a Presidential Disaster Declaration, which, if granted, would make Public Assistance funding available in the designated counties. In order to request a Presidential Disaster Declaration, damages incurred must meet criteria set by the federal government. "We need to do what we can to help these communities now, so they won't have to wait months for any possible federal assistance," said HSEMD Administrator J. Derek Hill.
The Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Division are responsible for the coordination of state disaster response and recovery activities. HSEMD has staffed the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) since June 1, 2011. As of June 10, the SEOC has also been staffed by personnel from the Iowa National Guard, the State departments of Human Services, Public Safety, Transportation, Natural Resources, and other agencies as appropriate.
For further information on the disaster process and the current situation in Western Iowa, visit www.iowahomelandsecurity.org.