There are several opportunities for farmers and ranchers affected by the wildfires to get assistance with infrastructure, seeding and tree planting, and livestock forage.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is accepting applications from agricultural producers to help with resource concerns for the Wildfire Initiative of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).
NRCS has two options:
• General EQIP — for deferred grazing, to allow grasses to recover by using alternate feed sources and broadcast seeding.
• Wildfire Special Initiative — for conservation practices including fencing, debris removal, tree planting, channel-bed stabilization and irrigation systems.
Interested parties must visit their local Farm Service Agency office (in Okanogan) to establish farm records as soon as possible.
For more information, call (509) 422-2750 or search for the “NRCS After the Fire” web page.
The deadline for applications is Oct. 20.
Farm Bureau grants
The Washington Farm Bureau’s disaster relief fund has raised $70,000 for victims of this summer’s wildfires. The funds are available to all farmers and ranchers. The funding will be targeted to individual landowners who have lost critical fencing, according to the Farm Bureau.
Interested farmers should apply through the state Farm Bureau; decisions on disbursing funds will be made by the Okanogan County Farm Bureau based on need.
To apply, call (360) 357-9975.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture also has a Livestock Forage Disaster Program, which compensates livestock producers who suffered grazing losses due to drought or fire between Oct. 1, 2011, and Dec. 31, 2014.
Unfortunately, benefits will be reduced for anyone who did not apply or schedule an appointment with their local Farm Service Agency by Sept. 30, but funds are still available after that date.
For more information, call (509) 422-3292 or visit www.fsa.usda.gov/FSA.