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USDA urges private forest landowners with damage to contact FSA

December 6, 2012

WALTON, NY — Private landowners with forest that was damaged by Hurricane Sandy are urged to contact their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office for information on the Emergency Forest Restoration Program (EFRP). EFRP provides assistance to landowners of private forest land to help carry out emergency measures to restore land damaged by a natural disaster. The FSA office’s phone number is 607/865-4005 or email barbara.davidowsky@ny.usda.gov.

Funding for EFRP is appropriated by Congress, and currently no funding is available. According to Liz Higgins, Ag Issue Leader at Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) Sullivan County, “In order for federal funding to become available to an area, forest landowners with damages need to make sure that their local FSA office is aware that there is a problem so that they can report the need for assistance to the state office and the federal office.” Because of the large number of trees that were blown down during Tropical Storm Sandy across a large geographic area in the Northeast, there is a possibility that funding could become available for this program. Higgins recommends that affected landowners contact their local FSA office, which for Sullivan County is now based in Walton.

To be eligible for EFRP, the natural disaster must have resulted in damage that, if untreated, would impair or endanger the natural resources on the land and materially affect future use of the land. EFRP program participants may receive financial assistance of up to 75% of the cost to implement approved emergency forest restoration practices as determined by county FSA committees.

Cornell Cooperative Extension in Sullivan County provides equal program and employment opportunities.