An open letter from Martha Roby, U.S. Representative, Alabama’s 2nd District
As Hurricane Michael recovery efforts continue, we are gradually learning the full scale of damages portions of our district are facing. The setback for the agriculture industry is severe, to say the least. In the immediate aftermath of the storm, I traveled to the Wiregrass to see firsthand what some of our farmers are experiencing. The devastation is heartbreaking.
Agricultural damage from Hurricane Michael across Alabama, Florida, and Georgia is projected to top $1.3 billion in total losses, with cotton, pecans, and poultry commodities hit the hardest. An expert with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System estimates the loss to our state’s cotton crop alone could eclipse $100 million. That sum does not include the impact the storm had on livestock, peanuts, and timber. When I was on the ground in the Wiregrass, I even saw 1,500 acres of cucumbers that might not make it to harvest. Our farmers are in the midst of a very real crisis.
In the wake of this disaster, Governor Kay Ivey requested that Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue declare our hurricane-damaged counties in Alabama as agriculture disaster areas. She also requested the maximum assistance be made available to our state through existing Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Farm Service Agency (FSA) programs.
I, too, have been actively engaged with Secretary Perdue, and recently penned a letter to him voicing my support for the Governor’s request. It is imperative that our farmers receive the most fitting and best available assistance from USDA during this time, and I am confident Secretary Perdue understands the severity of the devastation that occurred to agriculture in our state. I will remain in close contact with USDA to address any further needs the Department may require in getting our farmers the help they need in the weeks and months to come.
Read more about our Hurricane Michael recovery efforts in my weekly column here.
FEMA DAMAGE ASSESSMENTS BEGIN IN THE WIREGRASS
FEMA teams have begun damage assessment to determine whether the Wiregrass will qualify for a major disaster declaration. Local officials have urged homeowners to document damage with photographs and email the information to email@example.com as soon as possible. You can read more about the process through the Dothan Eagle here.
COFFEE COUNTY RANKED A PAYCHECK FRIENDLY COUNTY
Coffee County was recently ranked the 2nd most paycheck friendly county in Alabama! The study found that Coffee County had an income growth rate of 2.6% over the last five years. Covington County was ranked 5th with an income growth rate of 2.2%. Read more about the study here.
THE WEEK AHEAD
Congress is out of session for an October district work period, and this week I will be traveling throughout Alabama’s Second District visiting with constituents, local leaders, and businesses. Yesterday, I spent time in the Wiregrass to continue damage assessments with some local farmers. I am looking forward to a week full of valuable time with the people I represent. Stay up-to-date via Facebook and Twitter.
It is an honor to serve you in Congress. Please never hesitate to let me know if there is a way my office can be of assistance.
Member of Congress