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U.S. Department of Agriculture Announces Assistance Programs for Farmers and Ranchers Affected by Wildfires

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The United States Department of Agriculture is offering assistance to producers affected by Texas wildfires.

The USDA Texas Farm Service Agency has announced several disaster assistance programs to help recover from these devastating natural disasters.

James Douglass, acting state executive director for Texas FSA elaborated, saying “Mother Nature has not been kind to Texas farmers and ranchers in 2011. Although not a remedy to the extensive hardships and heartbreak experienced by many producers this year, it’s my hope that FSA’s disaster programs and loans can alleviate some of the financial strain producers have suffered from the devastating impact of the recent natural disasters.”

Programs offered include:

  • Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) which provides emergency funding for farmers and ranchers to rehabilitate land severely damaged by natural disasters; includes fence loss.
  • Non-Insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) which provides financial assistance to producers of non-insurable crops when low yields, loss of inventory, or prevented planting occur due to natural disasters (includes native grass for grazing).
  • Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) which offers payments to eligible producers for livestock death losses in excess of normal mortality due to adverse weather. Eligible losses may include those determined by FSA to have been caused by hurricanes, floods, blizzards, wildfires, tropical storms, tornados, lightening, extreme heat, and extreme cold. Producers will be required to provide verifiable documentation of death losses resulting from an eligible adverse weather event.

  • Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) that includes payments to eligible producers who suffered grazing losses for eligible livestock because of drought or fire.

  • Tree Assistance Program (TAP) for eligible orchardists and nursery tree growers for qualifying tree losses due to natural disaster.
  • Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) Under the ELAP, FSA may spend up to $50 million per year to provide emergency relief for losses due to feed or water shortages, disease, adverse weather, or other conditions, such as blizzards and wildfires, which are not adequately addressed by other disaster programs
  • Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payment Program (SURE) which offers payments to eligible producers who have incurred crop production losses or crop quality losses, or both.
  • Emergency Loan Program – The recent primary or contiguous Secretarial Disaster designation for all counties in Texas which triggered the availability of FSA’s low interest (3.75%) Emergency Loans.  These loans help producers recover from production and physical losses due to drought, flooding, wildfire and other natural disasters or quarantine.
  • Emergency Forest Restoration Program (EFRP) which provides payments to eligible owners of nonindustrial private forest (NIPF) land in order to carry out emergency measures to restore land damaged by a natural disaster.

Legislative authority for the SURE, LIP, LFP, TAP, and ELAP programs ends on September 30th.

More details on these programs are available at www.fsa.usda.gov, or by contacting your local USDA service center. The Lubbock FSA can be contacted at 785-5644.

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