USDA to Help California Farmers Affected by Wildfires

USDA to Help California Farmers Affected by Wildfires

USDA has announced $4 million in allocations to help growers in California recover from the wildfires in the Northern part of the state.

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USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will issue waivers for those interested in the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) to enable recovery work to begin immediately. This is one of several disaster assistance program available through USDA to support recovery efforts for individuals and communities.

NRCS will immediately begin accepting applications for its EQIP Catastrophic Fire Recovery fund pool to assist producers in covering the cost of certain rehabilitation practices, such as creating check dams in drainages, using damaged trees to slow runoff, repairing culvert systems, and planting tree seedlings. NRCS is waiving the standard 30-day application ranking period and is accepting applications for this initial fund pool through Nov. 6.

NRCS, Farm Service Agency (FSA), and Risk Management Agency (RMA) in California are planning to meet with landowners, partners, and other agencies to assess damages and discuss technical and financial assistance.

FSA can help farmers with a range of disaster assistance including risk coverage for specialty crops and repair of damage to agricultural and private forest land. For example, the FSA Emergency Conservation Program provides funding and technical assistance to rehabilitate farmland damaged by natural disasters.

“FSA has a number of programs to help wildfire-impacted producers get back on their feet,” said Jacque Johnson, Acting California FSA Executive Director. “I want to encourage farmers and ranchers to contact their local FSA office to find out about resources available to them.”

FSA’s suite of safety-net programs to help producers recover from eligible losses include:

Additionally, producers located in counties that receive a primary or contiguous disaster designation are eligible for low-interest emergency loans to help them recover from production and physical losses.

Compensation is also available to producers who purchased coverage through the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program, which protects non-insurable crops (including native grass for grazing) against natural disasters that result in lower yields, crop losses or prevented planting.