By Clint Thompson
Alabama’s poultry farmers have a lifeline with regards to compensation for losses incurred because of the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the Alabama Extension news, the Poultry Farmer Stabilization Grant Program provides $4 million to assist growers. The assistance is intended for poultry producers who experienced downtimes between flocks, decreased birds per flock or changes in target grow-out weights for birds and have not been compensated.
This financial assistance was vital considering poultry producers were not eligible for either Coronavirus Food Assistance Program.
“Poultry is the No. 1 agricultural industry other than forestry in the state of Alabama. It’s certainly one of the top industries in the Southeast region. Like many of the other agricultural commodities, poultry growers have been impacted by COVID in terms of impacts throughout the supply chain,” said Adam Rabinowitz, Auburn University Assistant Professor and Extension economist. “Because they are considered contract growers, the federal programs, CFAP programs have not provided any assistance for them. The Alabama Department of Agriculture Industries has created a program to offer some support for those losses in cases where the integrators have not covered those losses that have been sustained by the growers.”
How to Apply?
Growers must apply online at the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries (ADAI) website. The application window runs Oct. 13 through Nov. 6.
In a survey by Alabama Extension, it was determined that 45% of breeder growers suffered negative impacts because of COVID-19, Rabinowitz said
“There are no federal programs to help them so without this financial assistance they would certainly be feeling the pain of having to absorb that internally. That is difficult,” Rabinowitz said. “While they’re contract growers, that don’t have ownership of the actual animal, they do have ownership of the poultry houses and significant financial obligations. The result is they often don’t have the liquidity to meet all of their financial needs absent moving the birds through the house on a regular basis. Having increased downtime or having changes in that operation really creates some challenges for them.”