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USDA to aid farmers affected by fires

Farmers are eligible for different programs

By Diego Flammini,

Recent wildfires in Alaska, California, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington State have caused damages to farms and the United States Department of Agriculture is reminding farmers of relief programs available to them.

"Wildfires have caused devastating losses for many farmers and ranchers," said FSA Administrator Val Dolcini. "Over the past several years, wildfires have increased in severity, intensity and cost as the fire season has grown longer, and drought and increased temperatures contribute to dangerous conditions. Natural disasters such as wildfires are unavoidable, but USDA has strong safety-net programs to help producers get back on their feet."

The Farm Service Agency offers different programs to help producers recover some losses including the Livestock Indemnity Program, the Livestock Forage Disaster Program, the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program, and the Tree Assistance Program.

The Emergency Conservation Program helps farmers to restore any lands that have been damaged by natural disasters.

"After natural disasters such as wildfires, it is critical that farmers, ranchers and forestland owners have financial and technical resources available to protect their natural resources and operations," said NRCS Chief Jason Weller. "Conservation practices protect the land and aid recovery, but can build the natural resource base and may help mitigate loss in future events."

There have been more than 46,000 fires in 2015, putting nearly 46 million homes and 70,000 communities at risk.

As a result and for the first time in its 110-year history, the Forest Service division of the USDA is spending more than half its budget on wildfire containment.

Have you or someone you know been affected by the wildfires? What steps were taken to repair the farm and the land?

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