The USDA announced today that federal assistance is available for Iowa farmers affected by flooding.  Farmers should contact their local FSA office.  Click here for the list of Iowa offices.  The full release is below:

USDA FARM SERVICE AGENCY-DISASTER ASSISTANCE REMINDERS

DES MOINES, IOWA, June 2008 – With the extensive rainfall and flooding that Iowa’s farmers have endured, producers should be reminded they may be eligible for the Emergency Conservation Program or ECP. The ECP is administered by the Farm Service Agency (FSA) and covers damage to farmland, conservation structures, as well as damage to land in the floodplain. If producers/landlords have suffered terrace washouts, flood debris in the fields, sand deposits, fences washed out and other damage to eligible conservation structures, they should contact their local FSA Service Center and report the damage and start the application process.

Producers may also be eligible for Emergency Farm Loans once their County has received a Secretarial or Presidential disaster declaration. Producers located in counties contiguous to these disaster designated counties are also eligible for these low-interest Emergency Loans.

FSA Emergency loan funds may be used to:
* Restore or replace essential property;
* Pay all or part of production costs associated with the
disaster year;
* Pay essential family living expenses;
* Reorganize the farming operation; and
* Refinance certain debts.

Before counties can receive a Secretarial disaster declaration, the Iowa Governor’s office requests the Farm Service Agency to conduct disaster surveys from individual counties. These reports, which are called Damage Assessment Report (DAR’s) cover production (crop) loss and physical loss. County Committees enlist the assistance and expertise of local Federal and State agencies in gathering information and estimating damage within hours or days of the event.

The Farm Service Agency will administer the new permanent disaster program contained in the Farm Bill just passed by Congress. Before a producer can receive payment under this new disaster program, a crop insurance loss settlement sheet must have been received. More detailed information regarding eligibility guidelines and the application process will be forth coming.