FAQ: We have a 12 acre woodlot on our farm that was badly damaged by a severe windstorm that struck northeast Iowa this past summer. We want to remove and replace the broken and badly damaged trees this winter. Many of the trees that were killed or broken off by the severe winds were oak and walnut. Is cost-share assistance available from USDA’s Farm Service Agency to help with replanting of trees?
Answer: The following answer is provided by John R. Whitaker, state executive director of USDA’s Farm Service Agency in Iowa.
Yes, there is an FSA program for this purpose. USDA’s Emergency Forest Restoration Program (EFRP) provides cost-sharing to restore non-industrial private forest land damaged by natural disasters.
“This program helps assist landowners improve the health of their privately held forest land following a natural disaster,” says Whitaker. “Programs such as these are another tool to assist in restoring property damaged by floods, tornados, and other disaster that have occurred in Iowa.”
Eligible EFRP participants will use the money to implement emergency forest restoration practices, including emergency measures necessary to repair damage caused by a natural disaster to the natural resources on forest land and to restore the forest health and forest-related resources on the land.
To be eligible for EFRP, the land must:
- Have existing tree cover (or had tree cover immediately before the natural disaster and is suitable for growing trees); and,
- Be owned by any non-industrial private individual, group, association, corporation, or other private legal entity that has definitive decision-making authority over the land.
In addition, the natural disaster must create damage that, if untreated, would:
- Impair or endanger the natural resources of the land; and
- Materially affect future use of the land.
All of the above conditions must be met for EFRP eligibility. FSA county committees determine land eligibility based upon on-site damage inspections, taking into account the type and extent of the damage. As needed, county offices will request funding and establish sign up periods.
For more information on the Emergency Forest Restoration Program, please contact your county FSA office or access the website at www.fsa.usda.gov
If you have specific questions or need details on USDA farm programs, contact your local USDA Farm Service Agency or other appropriate USDA agency office. And be sure to read the regular column of “Frequently Asked Questions about the Farm Program” appearing in each issue of Wallaces Farmer magazine and at www.WallacesFarmer.com.