U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), and U.S. Representatives Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn. 7), Jim Cooper (D-Tenn. 5), Lincoln Davis (D-Tenn. 4) and Bart Gordon (D-Tenn. 6) today said that $892,500 in Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) funding for Davidson, Hickman, Lewis, Perry, Robertson and Sumner counties will help Tennessee farmers recover from last year’s record-setting drought. Farmers in those counties can apply for funding by contacting their local USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) office.
“After experiencing the worst drought in over 100 years of Tennessee history, our farmers need funding like this to help them get back on their feet,” Alexander said. “I’m glad to see this announcement from USDA and I will continue to work with the rest of the Tennessee delegation to ensure our farmers are getting the help they need.”
"Having visited farms damaged from last year's historic drought, I've witnessed firsthand what our farmers and ranchers are facing in the recovery and rehabilitation of their property," Corker said. "These USDA funds will provide farmers and ranchers in the recognized counties with some much needed assistance so they can restore their lands' productive capacity. As always, I'm proud to join my colleagues in the Tennessee congressional delegation in supporting the agriculture industry in our state."
“I am pleased that this grant will help folks in need address the drought situation that has deeply affected so many Tennesseans,” said Congressman Marsha Blackburn
"This emergency conservation assistance is just what Tennessee farmers need to get back on their feet after last year's drought," said Rep. Jim Cooper. "The funding goes to farmers who must take immediate steps in order to prevent serious, long-term disaster damage. I appreciate the federal government's willingness to help Tennessee in its hour of need."
"I applaud the USDA for providing badly needed resources to aid our farmers who have been hit particularly hard by the freeze, drought, and recent tornados," said Congressman Lincoln Davis, who is a member of the House Agriculture Committee.
"Last year's drought was a devastating blow to Tennessee's farmers and our state's agricultural economy,” said Rep. Bart Gordon. “As the son and grandson of farmers, I can tell you the USDA is doing the right thing by making more funds available to help farmers cope with the losses they suffered last year."
ECP gives producers additional resources to remove debris from farmland, restore fences and conservation structures, provide water for livestock in drought situations and grade and shape farmland damaged by a natural disaster. USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) state and county committees administer ECP. Locally-elected county committees are authorized to implement ECP for all disasters except drought, which is authorized at the national office of FSA. Eligible producers will receive cost-share assistance of up to 75 percent of the cost of the approved practice, as determined by FSA county committees.
Producers should check with their local FSA offices regarding ECP sign-up periods, which are set by FSA county committees. For a producer’s land to be eligible, the disaster must create new conservation problems that, if untreated, would impair or endanger the land and affect its productive capacity. Conservation problems existing prior to the applicable disaster are ineligible for ECP assistance.
USDA offers additional programs to help farmers and ranchers recover from damages caused by natural disasters. These programs include the Emergency Loan Program, Federal Crop Insurance and the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program.
More information on ECP and other disaster assistance programs is available at local FSA service centers and online at: http://www.fsa.usda.gov.