Release No. 0253.06
Ed Loyd (202) 720-4623
Jillene Johnson (202) 720-9733
Sign-Up Begins July 17 For Emergency Forestry Program To Replant
Hurricane Damaged Trees
WASHINGTON, July 14, 2006- Agriculture Deputy Secretary Chuck Conner
today announced that sign-up for the $504.1 million Emergency Forestry
Conservation Reserve Program (EFCRP) will start July 17, 2006. The
program helps landowners and operators restore and enhance forestland
damaged by the hurricanes that occurred in 2005.
"Emergency Forestry CRP is one of the many USDA programs available to
help farmers and ranchers with hurricane recovery efforts," said Conner.
"By planting trees, landowners and operators can rebuild their
operations and restore important forest resources and improve the
ability of at-risk land to withstand future storms."
EFCRP sign-up was originally scheduled to begin June 19. USDA postponed
the sign-up after the June 15 enactment of the Emergency Supplemental
Appropriations Act for Defense, the Global War on Terror and Hurricane
Recovery 2006, that changed some of the terms and provided an additional
$100 million for the program. Congress originally authorized the program
at a level of $404 million through Public Law 109-148.
Trees planted through EFCRP will help reduce flood effects, protect
water sources, decrease soil erosion and improve wildlife habitat. To be
eligible for EFCRP, in general, a producer must have experienced at
least a 35 percent loss to merchantable timber on private non-industrial
forestland. The loss must relate directly to one of the calendar year
Tree loss must have occurred in one of 261 counties receiving
presidential or secretarial primary disaster designations caused by 2005
hurricanes Dennis, Katrina, Ophelia, Rita or Wilma. Loss assistance is
unavailable in contiguous counties that have not themselves been
designated as disaster counties. A complete list of eligible counties in
Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina and Texas is
available online at: http://www.fsa.usda.gov.
Local Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices will accept land enrollment
offers from producers from July 17 through Oct. 20. FSA will rank land
offers based on the offer's potential to prevent soil erosion, improve
water quality, restore wildlife habitat and mitigate economic loss
caused by hurricanes. Those rankings will be based on evaluations
performed by foresters. The sign-up is divided into three selection
periods for top-ranked offers: July 17 through August 25; August 28
through Sept. 22; and Sept. 25 through Oct. 20. Eligible offers not
selected during the first or second period will rollover to subsequent
selection period(s). All acceptable EFCRP offers must have conservation
plans developed and approved by Dec. 31.
After offer evaluation and acceptance, a forester will work with the
landowner to develop a conservation plan. Enrolled land will remain
under contract for 10 years. EFCRP participants will receive 50 percent
cost-share assistance and may select either a lump sum rental payment or
10 annual rental payments. EFCRP participants may not harvest standing
timber from enrolled land during the term of the contract period, except
when the Commodity Credit Corporation permits it as part of normal
Acreage enrolled in EFCRP does not count toward the per-county number of
acres eligible for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) or CRP's
maximum acreage enrollment authority.
USDA has made available about $5.1 billion for hurricane recovery
efforts since Sept. 2005. Agricultural producers can receive $2 billion
through various programs, $1.8 billion will restore homes and rural
communities and $1.3 billion has been made available in food and
USDA has also made available $250 million from Section 32 funds for crop
disaster, livestock, tree and aquaculture assistance. These funds are
being distributed through five new programs; the Tree Indemnity Program
(TIP), the Hurricane Indemnity Program (HIP), the Livestock Indemnity
Program (LIP), the Feed Indemnity Program (FIP); and an Aquaculture
Block Grant program.
More information on EFCRP is available at local FSA offices and online
at: http://www.fsa.usda.gov/. Additional information on USDA hurricane
assistance is available at http://www.usda.gov/HurricaneInfo.xml.
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