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North Dakota farmers to receive $5.5. million for disaster aid

Senators Kent Conrad and Byron Dorgan and Congressman Earl Pomeroy announced recently that North Dakota will receive $5.5 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Emergency Conservation Program for farmland damage caused by floods or other natural disasters from 2008 and 2009.

"The past year has been devastating for farmers throughout the state. The combination of the difficult winter, spring floods and summer storms have contributed to extensive agricultural losses throughout North Dakota," the delegation said. "This funding will help farmers and ranchers across the state absorb their losses and bring their land back into production shape."

In April, the Congressional delegation urged U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to make emergency federal aid available for North Dakota's producers. The delegation pressed for the implementation of several federal aid programs, including ECP.

In order to be eligible for ECP funding, farmland must have sustained damages from natural disasters that adversely affect the land's productivity. USDA's Farm Service Agency (FSA) county committees determine land eligibility based on on-site inspections of damage, taking into account the type and extent of damage.

Counties approved for funding include: Emmons, Sheridan, Sioux, Dickey, Grant, Mercer, Oliver, Stutsman, Barnes, Grand Forks, Traill, Cass, Burleigh, Kidder, Logan, McHenry, Morton, Wells, Ransom, Richland, Hettinger, Pembina and Adams.

Nationwide, USDA distributed $71 million to ag producers devastated by natural disasters.

"President Obama and I are committed to helping farmers and ranchers restore farmland, fences and conservation measures devastated by disasters, and to help stimulate the rural economies affected by these disasters," Secretary Vilsack said.