United States Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, announced that 11 Alabama counties are under a Secretarial natural disaster designation. Farmers in these counties which are classified by USDA as “primary” may be eligible for emergency loans from the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA). Those farmers in counties that are contiguous to these primary counties may be eligible as well.
The designation by the USDA was prompted by excessive rainfall and flooding from Tropical Storm Cindy. The conditions caused extensive damage to crops which resulted in Governor Kay Ivey requesting USDA assistance for Alabama farmers on June 23, 2017.
“We all depend on our farmers and the crops they produce,” Alabama Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries John McMillan said. “I commend the work by USDA Farm Service Agency employees who completed the damage loss assessments in a timely manner, allowing Secretary Perdue to make the designation.” Damages to crops caused by natural events like Tropical Storm Cindy demonstrate the importance of having a strong 2018 farm bill. It is critical that the 2018 farm bill address assistance and immediate response to catastrophic natural disasters of this type.”
The 11 counties covered by the primary natural disaster designation are Baldwin, Cherokee, Clarke, Conecuh, Escambia, Hale, Marengo, Mobile, Monroe, Talladega, and Washington.
The assistance available to farmers in those counties includes USDA-FSA emergency loans. Farmers in eligible counties have 8 months from the date of the Secretarial disaster declaration to apply for emergency loans.
In the disaster designation, additional counties are named as “contiguous disaster counties.” In Alabama, those “contiguous” counties that border the primary disaster counties are Bibb, Butler, Calhoun, Choctaw, Clay, Cleburne, Coosa, Covington, Dallas, DeKalb, Etowah, Greene, Perry, St. Clair, Shelby, Sumter, Tuscaloosa, and Wilcox. Farmers in these counties may be eligible for emergency loans as well. The applications will be evaluated individually based on the extent of production losses.
Local FSA offices can provide affected farmers with further information. To find your local USDA service center’s contact information, click here: http://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app?state=al&agency=fsa
Secretary Perdue’s letter to Governor Ivey can be viewed here: Secretarial natural disaster declaration letter
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