Farmers in Chenango, Delaware, Otsego and Schoharie counties are eligible for funds from the state Farm Service Agency to help rehabilitate land damaged by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee, according to an FSA media release.

Sign up started Feb. 1 and runs until March 1 for anyone who has not applied to their local FSA office. Those who have reported damage should contact their office to ensure the application is complete before March 1.

The funds will be allocated from nearly $4 million received for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Emergency Conservation Program to assist farmers in 25 counties in New York.

"This funding will allow farmers to remove debris from farmland, repair the severe damage to land, restore fences, and repair conservation systems damaged by last year's flooding," state FSA Executive Director James Barber said.

To be eligible, the natural disasters must have created new conservation problems that: if untreated will impair or endanger the land; materially affect the land's productivity; represent unusual damage that, except for wind erosion, does not recur frequently in the same area; would be so costly to repair that federal assistance is, or will be, required to return the land to productive agricultural use.

All the conditions must be met to be eligible. FSA county commitees determine land eligibility based on on-site inspections.

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