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News Release

NRCS Announces 2021 Wildfire Recovery Assistance to Washington Producers Impacted by 2020 Wildfires

For Immediate Release | October 9, 2020

Contact: Nathan Gallahan, Public Affairs Specialist

11707 E. Sprague Ave, Suite 301
Spokane Valley, WA 99206

Phone: (509) 323-2911

Email: nathan.gallahan@usda.gov

 

SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. – USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service Washington agricultural operations have been significantly impacted by the wildfires this year, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture has technical and financial assistance available to help farmers and livestock producers recover. As agricultural producers move into recovery mode and assess damages, they should contact their local USDA Service Center to report losses and learn more about program options available to assist in their recovery from crop, land, infrastructure and livestock losses and damages.

 

“Washington agricultural producers are vital to the state’s economy. NRCS stands ready to assist in Washington farmers, ranchers, foresters, orchards, and livestock operations with their recovery from these wildfires.” said Roylene Comes At Night, State Conservationist.

 

NRCS offers programs to help in the recovery process. The Environmental Quality Incentives Program’s Wildfire Recovery fund pool provides resource protection for areas burned by catastrophic fires. Benefits include preventing soil erosion protection, minimizing spread of noxious and invasive plants, protecting water quality and restoring livestock infrastructure necessary for grazing management. Applicants must be within the 2020 Washington wildfire season burnt areas and have property burnt or destroyed. Completed EQIP applications need to be received by NRCS, and eligibility requirements need to be established with Farm Service Agency by the established cutoff date November 20, 2020.

 

Due to the emergency nature of this fund pool, any conservation practice(s) that cannot be installed and certified by September 30, 2021 will be contracted under general EQIP Statewide fund pools. Early start waivers may be approved for immediate need of conservation practice implementation. Please click here to visit the NRCS Wildfire Recovery website for additional information.

 

NRCS encourages wildfire affected operators and producers to contact their local USDA Service Center for the documents to help the local office expedite assistance, such as farm records, and pictures of damages or losses.

 

Assistance for Communities
Additional NRCS programs include the Emergency Watershed Protection program, which aids local government sponsors with the cost of addressing watershed impairments or hazards such as debris removal and stream bank stabilization. Eligible sponsors include cities, counties, towns, conservation districts or any federally recognized Native American Tribe or Tribal Organization.

 

When a watershed impairment occurs due to a natural disaster event, the district conservationist serves as the local facilitator for EWP activities. The Federal Emergency Management Agency is the lead federal agency for Presidentially declared natural disasters. All NRCS emergency work is coordinated with FEMA or its designee. Sponsors must submit a formal request (via mail or email) to the State Conservationist for assistance within 60 days of the natural disaster occurrence or 60 days from the date when access to the sites become available. For more information, please contact Larry Johnson, EWP program manager, at larry.a.johnson@usda.gov or (509) 323-2955.

 

EWP provides immediate assistance to communities to mitigate potential hazards to life and property resulting from the fires. NRCS can work with a local sponsor to help a damaged watershed area and reduce erosion so that lives and property are protected while preventing further devastation in the community. In addition to EWP, Conservation Technical Assistance is another valuable service that NRCS can provide following a wildfire. NRCS technical assistance can help fire victims with planning cost-effective post fire restoration practices.

 

Our Sister Agency, Farm Service Agency (FSA) also has a number of disaster assistance programs to help offset eligible losses, including the Livestock Indemnity Program, Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Emergency Conservation Program, Emergency Forest Restoration Program, Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) and Tree Assistance Program. Please contact your local FSA office located in a USDA Service Center to determine what program may exist for your specific circumstance.

 

Producers with Federal crop insurance coverage should contact their crop insurance agent for assistance. Producers should report crop damage to their agent within 72 hours of damage discovery and follow up in writing within 15 days.

 

More Information
For more information on all USDA disaster assistance programs, visit farmers.gov/recover, or contact your local USDA Service Center, which can be found at farmers.gov/service-center-locator. For assistance with a crop insurance claim, please contact your crop insurance agent.

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