What's up at the FSA Office?

by Cindy Mensen, Acting Allamakee County Executive Director (563) 568-2148

Aug. 31: Allamakee County Committee meeting at the USDA Service Center  9:00 am start
Sept 1: Premiums are due for 2016 MPP buy-up coverage
Dec 16: New deadline for the 2017 MPP decision

Emergency Conservation Program
Adverse weather, such as the torrential rains experienced this past week, makes life challenging.  The Farm Service Agency may apply for Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) if the disaster situation calls for implementation.  ECP is a cost-share program subject to the availability of funds.  Funding is not guaranteed for ECP.  Please note that the Allamakee Co FSA has not yet applied for assistance. 

ECP assistance is designed to rehabilitate cropland and conservation structures damaged by severe adverse weather events.  Cropland damage must be of such magnitude that it would be too costly for the producer to rehabilitate without Federal assistance.  Because of this restriction, $1000 is the minimum amount of damage that could qualify for ECP cost-share assistance.  However, a producer that meets limited resource qualifications has a lower minimum of $250.  FSA is charged with justifying the need for ECP funding and assuring the use of taxpayer assistance is wisely spent.

If ECP assistance is approved, the cost-share must not exceed 75% of the producer’s actual cost to perform the practice.  Also, ECP payments may not exceed 50% of the agricultural market value of the affected land.  NASS statistics are some of the resources we use to determine applicable land values.

There are several ECP practices and, depending on the eligible adverse disaster event, one or more of them could be part of the ECP implementation.  Practices for flooding disasters could include:

EC1    Removing debris from farmland
EC2    Grading, shaping, releveling, or similar measures
EC3    Restoring permanent fences
EC4    Restoring conservation structures and other installations

If your fence was destroyed, please repair it to ensure your livestock are safely contained and then come into the FSA office to fill out an application.  We will need to know the age, type and length of fence that was in place  prior to the disaster.

For all other dirt work needs– you must make an application for assistance at the FSA office and then a member of the USDA staff MUST view the damage before you make any repairs.  Failure to follow this procedure may result in denial of assistance.

Also, if you built your terraces or other conservation structures with federal funds and they are still under a multi-year maintenance agreement, those structures are ineligible for ECP assistance during the time they are under the maintenance agreement term.  Many of you have used EQIP funding for terrace construction, so we need to check records to ensure the ECP rules are correctly applied.

For ECP or any other FSA programs, please contact the Allamakee County FSA at 563-568-2148 for answers to your questions.