WARWICK, R.I. — The USDA Secretary of Agriculture has issued a Drought Disaster Declaration on August 15 (and August 22), 2022, thereby triggering the Farm Service Agency’s (FSA) ability to provide emergency loans and disaster assistance to Rhode Island’s farming community.
These efforts include providing water conservation and enhancement measures needed to permit livestock grazing of pasture and forage and supply emergency water for existing irrigation systems serving orchards and vineyards.
If you’ve suffered severe damage, you may be eligible for assistance under the Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) administered by the Rhode Island Farm Service Agency (FSA).
Rhode Island has been approved for EC-6 (Drought) for 60 days beginning on November 15, 2022. Producers will have until January 14, 2023, to apply for drought program assistance through ECP.
For land to be eligible, the natural disaster must create new conservation problems that, if untreated, would:
- 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
- affect the productive capacity of the farmland
- impair or endanger the land
If you qualify for ECP assistance, you may receive cost-share levels not to exceed 75 percent of the eligible cost of restoration measures. Eligible socially disadvantaged and beginning farmers and ranchers can receive up to 90 percent of the eligible cost of restoration. No one is eligible for more than $500,000 cost sharing per natural disaster occurrence.
If you’ve suffered a loss from drought, producers may contact the Rhode Island FSA County Office to request assistance.
To be eligible for assistance, practices must not be started until all 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 Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), has made a needs determination, which may include cubic yards of earthmoving, etc., required for rehabilitation
For more information about ECP, contact the Rhode Island FSA County Office at 401-828-3120 Option 1 or visit fsa.usda.gov.
–USDA FSA Rhode Island