Florida was ravaged by Hurricane Ian in September of 2022, and many industries suffered damage, including Florida’s ag industry; University of Florida economists estimated Hurricane Ian caused $1.03 billion in agricultural losses. Numerous relief programs were enacted, and many deadlines passed. Thankfully, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has extended the deadline for applications for relief through the Emergency Conservation Program for Florida ag producers. The new deadline is September 25.
Details of the Extended Deadline
The ECP provides ag producers with financial assistance to aid in restoring their agricultural land to the condition it was in prior to the disaster; in this case, prior to Hurricane Ian. Applicants who are approved can get up to 75 percent of the cost of the restoration covered by the ECP; those who are labeled as limited resource producers, socially disadvantaged participants, and beginning farmers and ranchers are eligible to receive up to 90 percent of the cost of their restorations. Both designations within the program are capped at $500,000 per disaster event.
Ag land restoration activities that are aimed at fixing damage caused by Hurricane Ian, and that also qualify for the ECP, include:
- Removing debris from your ag land.
- Grading, shaping, releveling ag land, or similar actions.
- Replacing or repairing permanent fences that are part of a farm or ranch’s infrastructure.
- Restoring conservation structures and other installations damaged by the hurricane.
It’s advised that ag producers NOT begin work until getting approval for ECP assistance because the costs of work done prior to approval may not be covered. Additionally, issues that existed prior to the hurricane are also not eligible. Applications are evaluated by FSA county committees, and on-site visits are not necessary for most applications.
Additional information on ECP and other programs the USDA offers to ag producers to aid in recovery from Hurricane Ian can be found on the USDA’s Hurricane resources webpage at https://www.farmers.gov/protection-recovery/hurricane.
BIO: Mike Roberts is the Vice President of the Frostproof, Fla.-based Griffin Fertilizer Co. Roberts joined the company in November 2011. He has spent the majority of his career in the fertilizer/agchem industry. Roberts earned a Bachelor of Science degree in citrus production from Florida Southern College in Lakeland. For more information, visit griffinfertilizer.com.
This column is sponsored by Griffin Fertilizer Co., and the opinions expressed herein may not reflect those of CFAN or of its advertisers.