02.17.12

Leahy Hails New Influx Of Conservation Remediation Funds For Vermont Farms Harmed By Irene

(FRIDAY, Feb. 17) – Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) says a fresh influx of funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), using disaster relief funds that Leahy helped to add in November, will assist Vermont farmers whose lands were harmed by Irene. 

Vermont learned Thursday that the state will receive an additional $2.56 million, more than doubling an earlier allocation of $2.18 million, for a total of $4.7 million in federal funds from the Environmental Conservation Program (ECP) to rehabilitate farmland damaged by Irene.  

Landowners, individuals and communities across the nation endured major hardships because of the intensity and number of natural disasters last year, and the ECP program was severely under-funded and had a national backlog even before Hurricane Irene hit.  As a senior member of both the Senate Agriculture and Appropriations panels, Leahy fought successfully after Irene to supplement the program’s depleted coffers. 

Leahy said, “This is important and timely news for Vermont farmers recovering from the storm’s damage.  USDA’s Farm Service Agency in Vermont now is in a position to offer additional help.  Farmers need to get this work done early in the year so they don’t miss the spring planting or the early first cut on hay.  FSA Director Bob Paquin and his staff have made a real difference in advocating for Vermont’s farmers and in getting this job done.”  

ECP participants can receive cost-share assistance of up to 75 percent to implement approved emergency conservation practices required to get back to farming.  ECP can pay to remove debris from farmland and farmstead property; to grade, shape, or level agricultural lands damaged by disaster; to restore permanent fences, restore structures, wells, pipelines, animal waste lagoons; and to install erosion control measures.

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