Parker

NRCS Provides $2 Million in Derecho Disaster Assistance

Ag/Outdoor

December 1st, 2020 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, IOWA, Dec. 1, 2020 – The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has preapproved the funding of 150 applications totaling more than $2 million across 26 Iowa counties to help farmers affected by the Aug. 10 Derecho windstorm apply or replace damaged conservation practices on their land. NRCS will fund disaster recovery applications through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) – a voluntary program in which NRCS provides financial and technical assistance to ag producers to address natural resource concerns.

Of the 150 applications:

•                     142 are for seeding cover crops to protect soil from erosion and to keep a living root in the soil until the 2021 planting season;

•                     6 are to replace previously USDA-funded high tunnel systems that many fruit and vegetable growers use to help extend the growing season and improve crop quality; and

•                     2 are to replace previously USDA-funded roofs or covers on livestock waste storage facilities.

Scott County had the most applicants with 24, followed by Linn County with 16, and Benton and Tama Counties with 12 apiece. Approved applicants will receive higher EQIP payment rates than normal due to the special disaster recovery. NRCS offered an early start waiver that allowed applicants to implement the conservation practice before the application was officially approved.

Iowa farmers were unable to harvest an estimated 850,000 cropland acres this fall, due to Derecho winds that blew as hard as 140 miles per hour. For more information about conservation practices and programs for your land, contact your local NRCS office or go to www.ia.nrcs.usda.gov. USDA Service Centers are temporarily restricting in-person visits in Iowa because of elevated rates of coronavirus community spread, but USDA employees will continue to assist agricultural producers with programs and services.