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Hurricane Idalia satellite view 8-29-2023 image by CIRA/RAMMB on Google search

Hurricane Emergency Assistance Updates - Florida


Florida NRCS is working to ensure agricultural landowners and producers affected by Hurricane Idalia receive timely technical and financial assistance.

NRCS Emergency Assistance

From floods to drought, fire or hurricanes, Florida NRCS provides disaster recovery assistance to farmers, ranchers, landowners and communities through the following programs:

Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) - Emergency Assistance

NRCS provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural and forest producers to improve or protect natural resource conditions while also improving agricultural operations. NRCS can provide payments, through conservation program contracts, for EQIP conservation practices to help agricultural landowners and producers address disaster related resource concerns on their land.

Emergency Watershed Protection Program (EWP)

EWP recovery projects begin with a local sponsor or legal subdivision of state or tribal government. Eligible sponsors include cities, counties, towns, conservation districts, or any federally-recognized Native American tribe or tribal organization. Interested public and private landowners must work through a sponsor.



Florida NRCS is working to ensure agricultural landowners and producers affected by Hurricane Idalia receive timely technical and financial assistance. 

A virtual public meeting was held September 12, 2023, to share information on NRCS emergency assistance (for EQIP and EWP).

Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) Emergency Assistance **Apply by November 17, 2023**

Florida Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) Emergency Declaration Counties:  Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Citrus, Columbia, Dixie, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Hernando, Jefferson, Lafayette, Leon, Levy, Madison, Marion, Pasco, Pinellas, Suwannee, Taylor, Union, and Wakulla Counties.

NRCS EQIP conservation practices eligible for financial assistance in the Hurricane Idalia emergency declaration counties:

Practice Name (Practice Code & Units)
     Clearing and Snagging (326 - ac)
     Conservation Cover (327 - ac)
     Cover Crop (340 - ac)
     Critical Area Planting (342 - ac)
     Emergency Animal Mortality Management (368 - amu)
     Fence (382 - ft)
     Mulching (484 - ac)
     Obstruction Removal (500 - no)
     Woody Residue Treatment (384 - ac)

Florida County map of Emergency Declaration Counties for Hurricane Idalia (2023) - created by USDA NRCS

Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) Assistance **Apply by October 29, 2023**

EWP assistance is available to Florida communities impacted by Hurricane Idalia. NRCS encourages local and state governments to serve as sponsors and request assistance to relieve imminent hazards to life and property caused by the hurricane. For efficiency, NRCS has set up an e-mail inbox where potential sponsors can submit requests for EWP assistance at: SM.FPAC.NRCS.FLEWP@USDA.GOV. The deadline to request EWP assistance is October 29, 2023.

Recent Florida Hurricanes - History

Hurricane Idalia (2023)

Hurricane Idalia made landfall about 7:45 a.m., August 30, 2023, near Taylor County’s Keaton Beach as a Category 3 storm, the National Hurricane Center said. The hurricane center said maximum sustained winds were 125 mph, which is 5 mph below the threshold for a Category 4 storm. Idalia then moved through areas of North Florida in the Big Bend region of Florida, with hurricane conditions expected elsewhere in portions of the hurricane warning area along the Florida Gulf Coast. Strong winds spread inland across portions of northern Florida and southern Georgia. Storm surges occurred up to 12 to 16 feet in hurricane impacted coastal areas. A State of Emergency was declared in 49 Florida counties. Evacuation notices were issued in 28 counties, according to news reports. Idalia is the strongest hurricane to make landfall in the Big Bend region, the nook between the panhandle and peninsula, in more than 125 years. Major agricultural damages include:  peanuts, vegetable crops, orchards, chicken houses, hay barns, and fencing. Poultry operations estimate as many as five million chickens died from the storm.



Hurricane Nicole made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane just south of Vero Beach, Florida, at 3:00 a.m. Thursday, November 10, packing maximum sustained winds of 75 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center. Later becoming a tropical storm, the system brought heavy rains and strong winds across central Florida. Landing on Florida’s eastern shores, Nicole is the first hurricane to hit the US in November in nearly 40 years.



Hurricane Ian made landfall early Wednesday afternoon on September 28, 2022, near Charlotte Harbor area in southwest Florida as a Category 4 storm – nearly a Category 5, with winds of 155 mph. Most of the southwest coast of Florida, experienced and life-threatening risk from catastrophic storm surges, wind, and flooding. The storm moved slowly over the peninsula and lingered over central Florida into the early morning hours of Thursday, September 29, 2022, dumping heavy rains with wind gusts up to 50mph. Hurricane winds extended out 45 miles from the center as it made landfall. The northeast area of the state, near St. John’s River, was also impacted heavily as the storm continued its northeast trajectory across the a Category 4 storm with winds of 155 mph.

To expedite Hurricane Ian disaster recovery, NRCS offered early start waivers in EQIP emergency declaration counties, to allow commencement of key conservation practices prior to conservation program contract approval. Producers were asked to file an EQIP application and a waiver before beginning an EQIP conservation practice. The deadline for interested landowners and producers to sign up was November 15, 2022.


Florida EQIP Program Contact:

Bianca Diaz Deliz
Acting Assistant State Conservationist - Financial Assistance Programs
Florida NRCS State Office
Gainesville, Florida
Phone: 352-338-3413 (office)
Phone: 352-810-1093 (mobile)

Florida EWP Program Contact:

Jason Strenth, State Conservation Engineer
Florida NRCS State Office
Gainesville, Florida
Phone: (352) 338-9559


Additional Information

Ready to get started?

Contact your local service center to start your application.

Find Your Local Service Center

USDA Service Centers are locations where you can connect with Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, or Rural Development employees for your business needs. Enter your state and county below to find your local service center and agency offices. If this locator does not work in your browser, please visit

How to Get Assistance

Do you farm or ranch and want to make improvements to the land that you own or lease?

Natural Resources Conservation Service offers technical and financial assistance to help farmers, ranchers and forest landowners.

how to get started

To get started with NRCS, we recommend you stop by your local NRCS field office. We’ll discuss your vision for your land.

NRCS provides landowners with free technical assistance, or advice, for their land. Common technical assistance includes: resource assessment, practice design and resource monitoring. Your conservation planner will help you determine if financial assistance is right for you.

We’ll walk you through the application process. To get started on applying for financial assistance, we’ll work with you:

  • To fill out an AD 1026, which ensures a conservation plan is in place before lands with highly erodible soils are farmed. It also ensures that identified wetland areas are protected.
  • To meet other eligibility certifications.

Once complete, we’ll work with you on the application, or CPA 1200.

Applications for most programs are accepted on a continuous basis, but they’re considered for funding in different ranking periods. Be sure to ask your local NRCS district conservationist about the deadline for the ranking period to ensure you turn in your application in time.

As part of the application process, we’ll check to see if you are eligible. To do this, you’ll need to bring:

  • An official tax ID (Social Security number or an employer ID)
  • A property deed or lease agreement to show you have control of the property; and
  • A farm number.

If you don’t have a farm number, you can get one from USDA’s Farm Service Agency. Typically, the local FSA office is located in the same building as the local NRCS office. You only need a farm number if you’re interested in financial assistance.

NRCS will take a look at the applications and rank them according to local resource concerns, the amount of conservation benefits the work will provide and the needs of applicants. View Application Ranking Dates by State.

If you’re selected, you can choose whether to sign the contract for the work to be done.

Once you sign the contract, you’ll be provided standards and specifications for completing the practice or practices, and then you will have a specified amount of time to implement. Once the work is implemented and inspected, you’ll be paid the rate of compensation for the work if it meets NRCS standards and specifications.