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Thune Announces USDA Emergency Conservation Funding for South Dakota Counties

Ten South Dakota Counties to Receive Roughly $1.4million for Drought and Flood Damage

August 16, 2007

Sioux Falls, S.D. —  Today, Senator John Thune announced that eight counties in Southwestern South Dakota have been approved for Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) funding due to drought and two counties in Northeastern South Dakota have been approved for flooding that occurred this past spring.

Custer, Fall River, Haakan, Harding, Meade, Pennington, Perkins and Ziebach Counties will be allocated a total of $1,177,000 for drought funding and Brown and Spink Counties will receive a total of $215,000 to repair flood damage.

The ECP program gives producers additional resources to remove debris from farmland, restore fences and conservation structures, provide water for livestock in drought situations and grade and shape farmland damaged by a natural disaster. The program is administered by the Farm Service Agency's (FSA) state and county committees. Locally-elected county committees are authorized to implement ECP for all disasters except drought, which is authorized at the national office of FSA. Eligible producers will receive cost-share assistance of up to 75 percent of the cost of the approved practice, as determined by FSA county committees.

"Drought and flooding can cause significant damage to the agricultural landscape," said Thune. "Damage to the land, unless corrected, is long term and can affect productivity for years to come. This ECP allocation is an example of how permanent disaster programs should work - and why their scope should be broadened beyond ECP to include permanent programs for livestock and crop losses. When a need arises, the program is in place to provide timely assistance."

Producers should check with their local FSA offices regarding ECP sign-up periods, which are set by the FSA county committees. For a producer's land to be eligible, the disaster must create new conservation problems that, if untreated, would impair or endanger the land and affect its productive capacity. Conservation problems existing prior to the applicable disaster are ineligible for ECP assistance.

A fact sheet with details on the ECP program can be found at: