Iowa farmers with damaged crops or conservation practices due to the Aug. 10 derecho should contact their local USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service office soon to learn about conservation planning and financial assistance options to manage damaged crops or replace structural practices.
NRCS has $4 million in financial assistance available through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) to help affected Iowa farmers in the 42 counties included in the Presidential Major Disaster Declaration. An Oct. 2 application cutoff date for the following practices is set:
- seeding cover crops on impacted fields
- replacing roofs, covers, or roof runoff structures previously funded through NRCS
- replacing damaged high tunnel systems previously funded by NRCS
Eligible applicants will receive higher than normal EQIP practice payments rates during this special sign-up.
Review conservation plan
Through EQIP, NRCS provides ag producers with financial resources and one-on-one help to plan and implement improvements on the land including financial assistance to treat resources caused or impacted by natural disasters. “NRCS-funded conservation practices protect your land from erosion, support disaster recovery, and help mitigate loss from future natural disasters,” says Mike Henderson, Iowa NRCS state agronomist.
Prior to tilling or harvesting derecho-damaged cropland, Henderson recommends reviewing your conservation compliance plan. “Producers with federal crop insurance coverage should also contact their crop insurance agent for assistance,” he says.
NRCS offices, located at USDA Service Centers statewide, can assist with cover crop species selection and timing and method of application.
SPECIAL SIGN-UP: Eligible applicants in designated counties can receive higher-than-normal EQIP practice payment rates. (Source: NRCS)
NRCS can also assist local government sponsors with the cost of addressing watershed impairments or hazards such as debris removal through the Emergency Watershed Protection Program. 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 NRCS district conservationist serves as the local facilitator for EWP activities.
Watershed program assistance
Sponsors have 60 days from the date of the derecho, or Oct. 9, to request EWP assistance.
Iowa counties included in the derecho disaster assistance include: Adair, Audubon, Benton, Black Hawk, Boone, Buchanan, Calhoun, Carroll, Cass, Cedar, Clarke, Clinton, Dallas, Delaware, Dubuque, Greene, Grundy, Guthrie, Hamilton, Hardin, Iowa, Jackson, Jasper, Johnson, Jones, Keokuk, Linn, Louisa, Madison, Mahaska, Marion, Marshall, Muscatine, Polk, Poweshiek, Sac, Scott, Story, Tama, Warren, Washington, and Webster.
If you have questions, call your NRCS office for assistance.Johnson is state public affairs specialist for USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Des Moines, Iowa.