Rep. Barletta comments on USDA disaster funding for Pennsylvania
WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, PA-11, said almost $14 million in federal funding for Pennsylvania announced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Wednesday will help farmers, land owners, communities, and others recover and rebuild after record flooding in Northeastern Pennsylvania in September.
“Pennsylvania farmers are hardworking and resilient, and they’re usually able to endure even the harshest conditions, but sometimes natural disasters are big enough to threaten their livelihoods. When that happens, the federal government must step in with programs like the Emergency Watershed Protection Program and the Emergency Conservation Program. These vital emergency programs will make sure Pennsylvania farmers keep putting food on our tables and milk in our refrigerators,” Rep. Barletta said. “Tropical Storm Lee and Hurricane Irene severely impacted farmers in the 11th District, so this assistance is necessary to keep some farmers on their farms.”
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that Pennsylvania will receive $12 million from the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) Program, which responds to emergencies created by natural disasters. The program is designed to help people and conserve natural resources by relieving imminent hazards to life and property caused by floods, fires, windstorms, and other natural occurrences.
EWP is designed for installation of recovery measures, such as providing financial and technical assistance to remove debris from stream channels, road culverts, and bridges; reshape and protect eroded banks; correct damaged drainage facilities; establish cover on critically eroding lands; repair levees and structures; and repair conservation practices. NRCS may purchase EWPP easements on any floodplain lands that have been impaired within the last 12 months or that have a history of repeated flooding (i.e., flooded at least twice during the past 10 years) to restore, protect, maintain, and enhance the functions of wetlands and banks of bodies of water.
Secretary Vilsack also said Pennsylvania will receive $1.875 million through the Farm Service Agency’s Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) to help agricultural producers remove debris from farmland, restore livestock fences and conservation structures, provide water for livestock during periods of severe drought, and grade and shape farmland damaged by a natural disaster.
In November, Rep. Barletta joined Rep. Paul Tonko (D, NY-21) and Rep. Bill Owens (D, NY-23) in a letter calling on the House Committee on Appropriations to fund these USDA emergency programs.
To learn more about these programs and determine if you qualify for assistance, visit www.nrcs.usda.gov.