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USDA Announces the approval of the Emergency Forest Restoration Program signup in MS

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced the approval of the Emergency Forest Restoration Program (EFRP) signup in all 82 counties in Mississippi. This program aims to provide financial and technical assistance to owners of nonindustrial private forestland (NIPF) to restore NIPF damaged by a qualifying natural disaster event. At this time, municipalities and homeowners are not eligible for the EFRP funding.

The sign-up period is from April 15 to August 15, 2024. To be eligible for the program, restoration activities must meet the technical standards set by the National Resources Conservation Service and/or State Forestry Agency (SFA). Participants are required to document and keep records of all costs incurred during the restoration process, including personal labor costs. The minimum qualifying cost of restoration is set at $1,000, with a payment limitation of $500,000.

The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) will administer the grant and oversee the EFRP. Following severe drought conditions last summer, all 82 counties in Mississippi were placed under a natural disaster status, making them eligible for the program.

Under the EFRP, financial assistance will be reimbursed after the completion of restoration activities. Participants will receive 75 percent of the lesser of the actual costs incurred or allowable cost. Upon approval of an EFRP application, participants are expected to perform restoration and conservation practices based on the FSA-848A, Cost-Share Agreement, and Restoration Plan provided.

For more information about the program and to access the USDA EFRP fact sheet, interested applicants are encouraged to contact their local FSA office. A comprehensive list of local FSA office contact information can be found here.