A tornado on March 17 caused severe damage from Hunt Mountain to the Friday’s Crossing area of the county. The tornado started northwest of Oneonta and ended northeast of Oneonta. Nonindustrial private forest (NIPF) landowners suffering severe damage may be eligible for assistance under the Emergency Forest Restoration Program (EFRP) – administered by the Blount County Farm Service Agency Office – if untreated damage caused by a natural disaster to natural resources on NIPF land would impair or endanger the natural resources on the land and materially affect the use of the land.
A producer qualifying for EFRP assistance may receive financial assistance levels not to exceed 75 percent of the eligible cost of restoration measures. The emergency measures must restore forest health and forest-related resources. The following types of measures may be eligible:
• removing debris from NIPF
• site preparation on NIPF
• seedling establishing on NIPF, and
• restoring conservation structures and other similar installations.
Producers who have suffered a loss from a natural disaster may contact the local FSA County Office and request assistance from through June 30. To be eligible for assistance, practices must not be started until all of the following are met:
• An application for financial assistance (FSA- 848) has been filed.
• The local FSA County Committee (COC) or its representative has conducted an onsite inspection of the damaged area.
• The agency responsible for technical assistance (such as State forestry agency) has made a needs determination, which may include cubic yards of earthmoving, etc., required for rehabilitation.
If you suffered damage to your forest property and feel you qualify for financial assistance in its restoration, please contact the Blount County FSA Office at 205-274-2363 Ext. 2. Service Center staff continue to work with agricultural producers via phone, email, and other digital tools. Because of the pandemic, some USDA Service Centers are open to limited visitors. Contact your Service Center to set up an in-person or phone appointment.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.