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Drought relief for livestock, orchards and vineyards

MEDIA RELEASE

The continuing drought conditions on Hawaii Island has caused agricultural producers to suffer crop and livestock losses. Farms and ranches experiencing severe drought conditions may be eligible for cost-share assistance under the Emergency Conservation Program (ECP).

This disaster program, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Farm Service Agency (FSA), provides cost-share assistance if the damage is so severe that water available for livestock, orchards or vineyards has been reduced below normal to the extent that neither can survive without additional water.

The Hawaii County FSA Office has announced the following two (2) Emergency Conservation practices are available to ranchers and other producers on the island. Areas of consideration are Pahala, Naalehu, South Point, Kona Districts, South Kohala District to include Mana, and up to the PTA areas.

1) EC6 – Drought Emergency Measures provides support for water conservation and enhancement measures including:
* Installing pipelines or other facilities for livestock water or existing irrigation systems for orchards and vineyards
* Constructing and deepening of wells for livestock water
* Developing springs or seeps for livestock water

A producer qualifying for EC6 assistance may receive cost shares not to exceed 75 percent of the cost of installing eligible temporary measures. Cost sharing for permanent measures is based on 50 percent of the total eligible cost. Cost-share assistance is limited to $200,000 per person per natural disaster.

To be eligible for cost shares under the EC6 program, practices shall not be started until a request has first been filed at the FSA County Office and an onsite inspection of the problem area has been made by the FSA County Committee (COC) or its representative. The COC will review the inspection findings when considering the request for cost shares.

2) EC7 – Other Emergency Conservation Measures supports the hauling of water for livestock and providing livestock watering facilities. Eligibility requirements are limited to:
* Livestock grazed on lands that do not have access to water because of extended drought conditions and there is no other means of obtaining water for the livestock
* Providing the minimum amount of water necessary to sustain the livestock

Requests for assistance will be accepted at FSA County Office in Hilo and Kealakekua from June 14 to July 13.

For additional eligibility requirements and program limitations regarding ECP, visit the FSA website at www.fsa.usda.gov or contact the Hawaii County Office in Hilo at (808) 933-8381 or in Kealakekua at (808) 322-2484, ext. 111.

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