Casey Announces Over $13 Million in USDA Disaster Assistance Grants for Producers, Landowners, Communities Harmed by Extreme Weather

WASHINGTON, DC — U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has dedicated $13.875 million to Pennsylvania for disaster assistance to help farmers, land owners, communities and others recover and rebuild after a year of natural disasters.  This will fund financial and technical assistance to help rebuild and repair land damaged on account of flooding, drought, tornadoes and other natural disasters. Pennsylvania will receive $12 million from the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) and $1.875 from the Farm Service Agency’s Emergency Conservation Program (ECP).

“As a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, I have made it a priority to keep Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry and rural Pennsylvania strong,” said Senator Casey. “All across Pennsylvania our farmers are still dealing with devastation from Irene and Lee, so making sure they are compensated for their losses is essential to their recovery. These grants will help farmers and small businesses rebuild after the extreme weather we faced last year.” 

Pennsylvania suffered historic flooding in the wake of Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee, leaving families and businesses devastated. The storms also took an incredible toll on Pennsylvania’s farmers, leaving their crops and land barren after an already difficult season.

The Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) program will contribute $215.7 million nationally to provide financial and technical assistance to address public safety and restoration efforts on private, public and tribal lands. Typical projects funded under EWP include removing debris from waterways, protecting eroded stream banks, reseeding damaged areas, and in some cases, purchasing floodplain easements on eligible land. A list of states and their fiscal year 2012 EWP Program allocations can be viewed at http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/national/programs/landscape/ewpp.

The Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) program will contribute $80 million nationally to producers to help remove debris from farmland, restore livestock fences and conservation structures, provide water for livestock during periods of severe drought, and grade and shape farmland damaged by a natural disaster. FSA county committees determine eligibility based on on-site inspections of damaged land and considering the type and extent of damage.  For land to be eligible, the natural disaster must create new conservation problems.  A list of states and their fiscal year 2012 ECP allocations can be viewed at http://www.fsa.usda.gov/Internet/FSA_File/20120108_ecp_efrp_table.pdf.