USDA opens wildfire assistance sign up to 48 additional counties

Nolan County USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director, Dennis Cumbie announced that 48 additional counties, including Nolan County are accepting Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) applications to restore permanent fences destroyed by wildfires. "FSA is accepting applications in eligible counties, but there is currently a backlog for ECP funds," said Cumbie. "Producers are still encouraged to submit an application and will be notified as funds become available," he said. It is normal procedure for producers to submit their requests for ECP assistance prior to beginning reconstructive work. Completing reconstructive work before submitting an ECP request and receiving FSA approval would usually result in forfeiture of program eligibility, but according to Cumbie, FSA has the authority to approve ECP requests, on a case-by-case basis, for projects started or completed before receiving ECP funding approval.“We realize that there are extenuating circumstances that must be addressed for public and livestock safety and health reasons and due to the backlog of ECP funds, FSA district directors have the authority to waive the start date for beginning reconstructive work.," said Cumbie. "Approval to waive the start date would allow producers to begin repairing fences before ECP funds are secured without jeopardizing program eligibility," he said. ECP program participants can receive financial assistance for up to 75 percent of the cost to implement approved emergency conservation practices. For more ECP information or to request a start date waiver, please contact the Nolan County FSA office.