The U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency in Jackson County is accepting applications for the Emergency Conservation Program to address damages from recent spring floods. ECP signup will end Monday, June 29.

The approved ECP practices under this authorization include 1) debris removal from farmland; 2) grading, shaping, releveling, or similar measures; and 3) restoring permanent fences.

ECP assists producers with the recovery cost to restore the farmland to pre-disaster conditions. Approved ECP applicants may receive up to 75 percent of the cost of approved restoration activity. Limited resource, socially disadvantaged and beginning farmers and ranchers may receive up to 90 percent cost-share. A 25 percent advance payment will be allowed for repair or replacement of fencing.

Producers with damage from such events must apply for assistance prior to beginning reconstructive work. FSA’s National Environmental Policy Act and environmental compliance review process is required to be completed before any actions are taken. Submitting an application after reconstructive work has been completed may not qualify for ECP. Debris must be removed from the 100-year floodplain. Fences must be reconstructed or repaired to USDA standards.

FSA county committees will evaluate applications based on an on-site inspection of the damaged land, taking into consideration the type and extent of the damage. An on-site inspection does not guarantee that cost-share funding will be provided.

The use of ECP funds is limited to activities to return the land to the relative pre-disaster condition. Conservation concerns that were present on the land prior to the disaster are not eligible for ECP assistance.

For more information on ECP, contact the Bryson City USDA Service Center at 488-2684, ext. 2, or visit farmers.gov/recover.