Farmers eligible for federal aid in areas affected by excessive rains, floodsPublished 2:31am Friday, September 20, 2013
Gov. Robert Bentley on Thursday announced that 50 Alabama counties are under a Secretarial Natural Disaster Designation from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), making farmers in those counties eligible to be considered for assistance from the USDA-Farm Service Agency.
The designation by the USDA was prompted by excessive rains and flooding throughout the year. The rains and flooding caused extensive damage to many crops during the 2013 growing season.
Bentley wrote a letter to United States Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack on Aug. 7 requesting assistance for farmers in all Alabama counties or the counties the USDA deemed appropriate. On Sept. 18, Vilsack formally designated 50 Alabama counties as primary natural disaster areas.
“We all depend on our farmers and the crops they produce,” Bentley said. “Agriculture generates billions of dollars in revenue and thousands of jobs in Alabama. It’s important that we connect farmers with every resource available following the excessive rain and flooding we’ve seen this year. I appreciate Secretary Vilsack for recognizing the losses in counties across Alabama and for making assistance available to those who qualify.”
The 50 counties covered by the primary natural disaster designation are: Autauga, Baldwin, Barbour, Blount, Bullock, Calhoun, Cherokee, Chilton, Choctaw, Clarke, Cleburne, Coosa, Covington, Crenshaw, Cullman, Dale, Dallas, Elmore, Etowah, Fayette, Geneva, Greene, Hale, Henry, Houston, Jackson, Jefferson, Lamar, Lauderdale, Lowndes, Macon ,Madison, Marengo, Mobile, Monroe, Montgomery, Morgan, Perry, Pickens, Pike, Russell, St. Clair, Shelby, Sumter, Talladega, Tallapoosa, Tuscaloosa, Walker, Washington and Wilcox.
The assistance available to farmers in those 50 counties includes FSA emergency loans. Farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of the secretarial disaster declaration (Sept. 18) to apply for emergency loans.