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Today’s Interview: NRCS buyout program underway in four eastern Kentucky counties

 Flooding in eastern Kentucky
Jeanne Marie Hibberd
Flooding in eastern Kentucky

Residents in four southeastern Kentucky counties have another opportunity to sell their property so they can move to a less flood prone area. Natural Resources Conservation Service is starting up a brand-new voluntary buyout program.

Casey Shrader is the Kentucky State Conservationist with the NRCS. He told WEKU the goal of the program is to help those struggling to get back on their feet after last summer’s flood.

“We’re not forcing anyone to do this, as a matter of fact we would just like people to get out of harm’s way. Totally understand if people don’t want to participate, we want to offer this for folks that have been devastated or impacted and are just having financial hardship.”

Shrader says they are working through the local government offices. Those interested in applying should call a local judge/executive’s office or the regional Conservation District office in Hazard.

He said their buyout program is little different than the one offered by FEMA.

“Our restrictions and people that could be eligible to participate in this, I think, is a little more lenient and it allows a lot of flexibility in what can be purchased and what we look at as eligible.”

Shrader said the program is completely voluntary and the NRCS purchases the property at a pre-flood appraisal. The program is open to residents in Knott, Perry, Letcher, and Breathitt Counties. Like the FEMA program, the purchased property would be reverted back to greenspace.

Applications will be accepted until June 30th.

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Stan Ingold is WEKU's News Director. He has worked in public broadcasting for 18 years, starting at Morehead State Public Radio before spending the past 10 years at Alabama Public Radio. Stan has been honored with numerous journalism awards for his public radio reporting.
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