Livestock producers, and farmers who have orchards and vineyards who are facing critical water needs due to this summer's ongoing drought, may find some relief in an announcement made by USDA on August 27. John Whitaker, executive director for USDA's Farm Service Agency in Iowa, says five counties--Audubon, Carroll, Crawford, Davis and Wapello--have been approved to implement and hold a sign up for the Emergency Conservation Program, or ECP.
"ECP provides qualified producers the opportunity to request financial assistance during this critical time," says Whitaker. "It is unknown if funding will be immediately available, but producers who are interested can begin making their cost-share requests, and they will be notified as funds become available. "
Farmers needing assistance should begin making cost-share requests to FSA
Farmers experiencing severe drought conditions may be eligible for cost-share assistance under the Emergency Conservation Program, or ECP. This program provides cost-share assistance if the damage is so severe that water available for livestock, orchards and vineyards has been reduced below normal to the extent that they cannot survive without additional water.
Producers with water shortages will need to sign the required forms and have the area inspected prior to starting any work, which may include technical assistance to determine what is needed to bring a water supply to the area. "Contacting your FSA office is critical," he says. "Farmers not completing the required forms and who weren't inspected prior to starting the work could be ineligible and cost share could be denied."
A producer qualifying for ECP assistance may receive cost share not to exceed 75% of the cost of installing eligible temporary measures. Cost share for permanent measures is based on 50% of the total eligible cost. Cost-share assistance is limited to $200,000 per person or legal entity per natural disaster. Water source related problems existing prior to the applicable disaster are ineligible for ECP assistance.
Approved practices and measures may include:
* Installing pipelines or other facilities for livestock water or existing irrigation systems for orchards and vineyards,
* Constructing and deepening wells for livestock water
* Developing springs or seeps for livestock water
Producers who have experienced severe drought conditions requiring outside assistance to provide supplemental water should contact their local county FSA office for more information. You can also go on-line at www.fsa.usda.gov.