By Brandon McCray
USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) State Conservationist for Alabama Ben Malone announced a special financial assistance sign up for Alabama farmers and ranchers who suffered damage to working lands and livestock mortality because of Hurricane Michael. Affected producers are encouraged to sign up for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). The first batching period will end on October 26, 2018. A second signup period will end on November 9, 2018.
This assistance is available to individual farmers and ranchers to aid in recovery efforts on their properties and does not apply to local governments or other entities. The counties eligible for this special sign up include: Barbour, Dale, Geneva, Henry, and Houston. Eligible practices will include 368 (Emergency Animal Mortality Management), CPS 326 (Clearing and Snagging), and CPS 500 (Obstruction Removal). NRCS recommends producers seeking assistance for any mass mortality event immediately notify the Alabama Department of Agriculture & Industriesif they haven’t already done so.
Special emphasis participants like socially disadvantaged, limited resource, and beginning farmers and ranchers are eligible for a higher payment rate. In addition, socially disadvantaged, veteran, limited resource, and beginning farmers and ranchers can receive up to 50 percent advanced payment for purchasing materials or contracting.
For more information about NRCS and its programs, visit your local USDA Service Center to determine eligibility. Individuals are not eligible for USDA programs until they have completed the Farm Bill eligibility requirements. General program information is available on the Alabama NRCS website at www.al.nrcs.usda.gov.