On November 16, 2018, United States Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced that five Alabama counties are under Secretarial Natural Disaster Designation. He announced the declaration during a roundtable discussion with Congresswoman Martha Roby, Commissioner John McMillan and local farmers in Gordon, Alabama.
The designation by USDA was prompted by excessive winds and rainfall from Hurricane Michael. The conditions caused extensive damage to many crops and livestock facilities in southeastern Alabama, which resulted in Governor Kay Ivey requesting USDA assistance on October 15, 2018.
Farmers in the counties which are classified by USDA as “primary” may be eligible for emergency loans administered through Farm Service Agencies (FSA). The counties covered by the declaration include: Barbour, Geneva, Henry, Houston and Pike.
In the disaster designation, additional counties are named as “contiguous disaster counties.” In Alabama, those “contiguous” counties that border the primary counties are: Bullock, Covington, Dale, Russell, Coffee, Crenshaw, and Montgomery. Farmers in these counties may be eligible for emergency loans as well.
“Hurricane Michael left thousands of acres of farmland in complete devastation,” said Alabama Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries John McMillan. “I applaud FSA and USDA officials for their timely response to an agriculturally-rich sector of our state. The financial support provided through this designation will help our producers pick up the pieces and continue their operations in the future.”
Local FSA offices can provide affected farmers with additional information. To find a local USDA service center’s contact information, visit https://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/.