Tornado damage on March 3, 2020 and straight line winds on March 29, 2020 caused severe damage in the northern and central portions of Cumberland County. Farms and ranches suffering severe damage may be eligible for assistance under the Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) administered by the Cumberland/Bledsoe Farm Service Agency (FSA) county office if the damage:
- Will 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.
- Will impair or endanger the land
A producer qualifying for ECP assistance may receive cost-share levels not to exceed 75 percent of the eligible cost of restoration measures. No producer is eligible for more than $ 200,000 cost sharing per natural disaster occurrence. The following types of measures may be eligible:
- Removing debris from farmland
- Restoring permanent fences
Producers who have suffered a loss from the tornado of March 3, 2020 or straight-line winds of March 29, 2020 may contact the local FSA county office and request assistance. Signup for program benefit begins April 15, 2020 for both weather events. Signup ends on May 15, 2020 for tornado damage and June 15, 2020 for the straight line wind damage.
USDA Service Centers in Tennessee will continue to be open for business by phone appointment only and field work will continue with appropriate social distancing. While our program delivery staff will continue to come into the office, they will be working with our producers by phone, and using online tools whenever possible. All Service Center visitors wishing to conduct business with the Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, or any other Service Center agency are required to call their Service Center to schedule a phone appointment. In the event a Service Center is closed, producers can receive assistance from the closest alternative Service Center by phone.
FSA county committees will complete an evaluation of submitted requests and obligate available funds based on an on-site inspection of the damaged land, taking into consideration the type and extent of the eligible damage. Completion of the on-site inspection does not guarantee that cost-share funding will be allocated.
The use of obligated funds is limited to return the land to the relative pre-disaster condition. Conservation concerns that were present on the land prior to the disaster are not eligible for ECP assistance.
Please contact the Cumberland/Bledsoe FSA office for additional information and to begin the application process. You may reach us by calling (931) 484-6520 ext. 2 or toll free 855-216-2802 ext. 2. You may also email Maria.Turner@usda.gov