A tornado has caused severe damage in Lantana Rd., Taylor's Chapel Rd., Sherwood Farms and Old Mail Rd. areas of the county. Farms and ranches suffering severe damage may be eligible for assistance under the Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) administered by the Cumberland Farm Service Agency County Office if the damage:

•will be so costly to rehabilitate that federal assistance is or will be needed to return the land to productive agricultural use

•is unusual and is not the type that would recur frequently in the same area

•affects the productive capacity of the farmland

•will impair or endanger the land.

A producer qualifying for ECP assistance may receive cost-share levels not to exceed 75 percent of the eligible cost of restoration measures. No producer is eligible for more than $200,000 cost sharing per natural disaster occurrence. The following types of measures may be eligible:

•removing debris from farmland

•restoring permanent fences

Producers who have suffered a loss from a natural disaster may contact the local FSA County Office and request assistance now through July 7, 2006. Producers need to also be informed that although the Cumberland County office has accepted the request and conducted field visits, this does not imply that cost share assistance will be made available.

To be eligible for assistance, practices must not be started until all of the following are met:

•an application for cost-share assistance has been filed

•the local FSA County Committee (COC) or its representative has conducted an onsite inspection of the damaged area

•the agency responsible for technical assistance, such as the National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), has made a needs determination

However, in certain instances, the Cumberland County Committee, with the Tennessee State Committee occurrence, may grant relief on a case-by-case basis for those producers who had to take immediate steps to prevent further losses, provided they apply within 15 calendar days at the Cumberland FSA county office.

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