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USDA allocates emergency funding in wake of natural disasters

ACROSS MISSISSIPPI — Mississippi landowners and communities will have access to more than $5.46 million in emergency funding to restore land and property damaged in floods, tornadoes and other natural disasters last year.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture released its allocation of $308 million in federal emergency funding approved by Congress last November as part of an appropriations package to fund the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Nationally, the USDA is releasing $215.9 million for the Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) program, $80 million for the Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) and $12 million for the Emergency Forest Restoration Program (EFRP).

Mississippi will receive a total of $5,465,098 in USDA disaster assistance: $3.05 million in EWP funding, $2.36 million in EFRP funding and $52,000 in ECP funds.

“A number of recovery and restoration projects in Mississippi have been on hold due to a lack of funding in these emergency accounts. Mississippians survived devastating tornadoes and historic floods last year, and these USDA programs can be useful in restoring lands and natural resources,” said Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.). “I am pleased that these emergency funds can now be used to implement projects that will help flooded areas and communities like Smithville get back on their feet.”

The EWP is an emergency recovery program administered by the Natural Resources Conservation Service. The $3.05 million for Mississippi can be used for a variety of activities, including stream debris removal, eroded bank restoration, levee and drainage facility repairs.

The Farm Services Administration runs the EFRP, and the $2.36 million allocation to Mississippi is specifically linked to tornado damage incurred last April.  This program is used to restore non-industrial private forestland damaged by natural disasters.

The FSA will also administer the $52,000 designated for Mississippi through the ECP program, which is intended to help farmers and ranchers restore storm-damaged farm and range land.

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