Agriculture disaster designation approved for 25 Alabama counties including Lowndes
Published 4:27 pm Thursday, December 10, 2015
Special to the Lowndes Signal
Governor Robert Bentley on Thursday, Dec. 10 announced that 25 Alabama counties, including Lowndes have been approved for a Secretarial Natural Disaster Designation from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
According to the Governor’s Office, farmers in the 25 designated counties are eligible to be considered for assistance from the USDA-Farm Service Agency.
The designation by the USDA was prompted by excessive rainfall, wind and flooding that occurred this year. The severe weather caused extensive damage to many crops during the 2015 growing season.
“Farming is important in Alabama, and we depend on the crops farmers produce,” Governor Bentley said. “Agriculture generates billions of dollars in revenue and thousands of jobs in Alabama. As a result of this Secretarial Natural Disaster Designation from USDA, farmers will have additional resources available to assist them in recovering from the excessive rain and flooding we have experienced this year. I appreciate Secretary Vilsack for making resources available to those who qualify.”
Governor Bentley sent a letter to United States Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack on Nov. 12, requesting assistance for farmers in Alabama counties or the counties the USDA deemed appropriate. Secretary Vilsack on Wednesday, Dec. 9 formally designated 13 Alabama counties as primary natural disaster areas and 12 contiguous counties were added in accordance with the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act.
“The natural disaster declaration request recently approved by Secretary Tom Vilsack will allow producers to be considered for certain assistance by USDA-FSA, provided certain eligibility requirements are met,” Alabama Commissioner of Agriculture & Industries John McMillan said. “I want to commend Governor Bentley for initiating the declaration process along with Alabama USDA-FSA State Director, Daniel Robinson for the timely preparation of the county loss assessment reports that determined and confirmed the declaration request.”
The 25 counties covered by the natural disaster designation are: Baldwin, Barbour, Butler, Bullock, Chambers, Coffee, Conecuh, Covington, Crenshaw, Dale, Elmore, Escambia, Geneva, Henry, Houston, Lee, Lowndes, Macon, Monroe, Montgomery, Pike, Randolph, Russell, Tallapoosa and Wilcox.
The assistance available to farmers in those 25 counties includes FSA emergency loans. Farmers in eligible counties have eight months to apply for emergency loans. The applications will be evaluated individually based on direct production losses.