U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) County Executive Director Marcia Hall has announced that Androscoggin and Oxford counties are approved to accept applications for the Emergency Forest Restoration Program (EFRP) to address damages due to high wind and rain from the severe storm on Oct. 29.

EFRP provides payments to eligible owners of nonindustrial private forest (NIPF) land to enable the owners to carry out emergency measures to restore land damaged by a natural disaster. EFRP sign-up will begin on Jan. 2 and end on March 2.

“It is important that producers apply for EFRP assistance timely because program funds will be allocated based on the number of applications received as well as by on-site inspections that will determine the extent of the damage,” said Hall. “I encourage eligible landowners who haven’t participated in FSA programs to contact the Androscoggin County FSA office as soon as possible because FSA records will have to be created for these individuals.”

After applications are received, Maine Forest Service will provide technical assistance by evaluating the damage and developing a plan to restore the NIPF land. The local FSA county committee will determine land eligibility and approve applications.

In order to meet eligibility requirements, NIPF land must have existing tree cover or had tree cover immediately before the natural disaster occurred and be sustainable for growing trees. The land must also be owned by any nonindustrial private individual, group, association, corporation or other private legal entity that has definitive decision-making authority over the land. The natural disaster must have resulted in damage that if untreated would impair or endanger the natural resources on the land and/or materially affect future use of the land.

FMI: Androscoggin County FSA office, 207-753-9400, ext. 2; Oxford County office, 207-743-5789, ex.t 2; or http://disaster.fsa.usda.gov. The Androscoggin County office is located at 254 Goddard Road, Lewiston; Oxford County office, 17 Olson Road, Paris.

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