MONTGOMERY – Agriculture & Industries Commissioner Ron Sparks has announced that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has approved disaster assistance for 2009 for farmers and producers across the United States. The disaster assistance will include a Crop Assistance Program, a Lost Poultry Contract Assistance Program, and an Aquaculture Grant Program.
“Alabama’s producers have been long awaiting this,” said Sparks. “Although these grants will not relieve them of total losses for 2009, it is certainly needed and appreciated. Sixty-six of the state’s 67 counties are a part of this program, which illustrates clearly that we had a widespread problem here in 2009. I hope this funding will go a long way to helping them continue to be successful in their industries.”
The Crop Assistance Program will provide up to $550 million for these eligible commodities: upland cotton, rice, soybeans, and sweet potatoes. The Lost Poultry Contract Assistance Program will provide up to $60 million in the form of a grant to those states where poultry producers lost a contract due to the bankruptcy of an integrator in December 2008. The Aquaculture Grant Program will provide up to $20 million in the form of a grant to those states where farm-raised aquaculture producers need assistance due to high feed input costs in 2009.
All Alabama counties are eligible for these programs except for Coosa County. Details about the requirements for producer qualifications and funds distribution are expected from USDA in the coming weeks.
For more information on USDA’s disaster assistance programs, please visit: http://www.fsa.usda.gov/FSA/webapp?area=home&subject=diap&topic=landing