USDA dis­as­ter dec­la­ra­tion sought for Cen­tral, South Ala. coun­ties

Cherokee County Herald - - COMMUNITY NEWS -

MONT­GOMERY — Farm­ers were al­ready in dire need of re­lief from sev­eral weeks of large rain­fall to­tals where rain has sat­u­rated fields in cen­tral and south­ern Alabama. To add in­sult to in­jury, Trop­i­cal Storm Cindy dropped ad­di­tional ex­ten­sive rain­fall across the re­gion this week. Widespread flood­ing in south Alabama along with lo­cal­ized flood­ing in cen­tral Alabama have cre­ated mul­ti­ple prob­lems for Alabama farm­ers, in­clud­ing sig­nif­i­cant crop loss. Some of the crops af­fected, but not lim­ited to, are cot­ton, corn, hay, peanuts, soy­beans, spe­cialty crops, and wheat.

Th­ese rain­fall to­tals are un­usual and have placed a tremen­dous burden on Alabama farm­ers. Com­mis­sioner of Agri­cul­ture and In­dus­tries John McMil­lan, and Alabama Farm­ers Fed­er­a­tion rep­re­sen­ta­tives have pro­vided Gov. Kay Ivey’s of­fice with the most up- to- date in­for­ma­tion about the con­di­tions farm­ers are deal­ing with.

“The po­ten­tial ad­verse im­pact from Trop­i­cal Storm Cindy will likely ruin crops that are al­ready planted while at the same time cre­ate con­di­tions where other crops can­not be planted and har­vested in a timely fash­ion. Farm­ers have al­ready spent money on seeds and fer­til- izer and now they can­not be fully uti­lized. This is a fi­nan­cial hard­ship on our farm­ers,” said Com­mis­sioner McMil­lan. Fur­ther­more, McMil­lan added, “Many Alabami­ans might not re­al­ize the mag­ni­tude this kind of dis­as­ter event has on agri­cul­ture. Aside from cre­at­ing a less than prof­itable grow­ing sea­son, this sit­u­a­tion only adds to the al­ready de­pressed prices for agri­cul­ture com­modi­ties. The ef­fect of this event will re­sult in an eco­nomic loss for ru­ral Alabama. Our farm­ers will feel the im­pact of this storm into this fall and win­ter.”

Com­mis­sioner McMil­lan stands ready to as­sist Ivey in for­mally re­quest­ing Sec­re­tary Sonny Per­due, United States De­part­ment of Agri­cul­ture, to ini­ti­ate a dis­as­ter dec­la­ra­tion process within the im­pacted Alabama coun­ties.

The Com­mis­sioner also an­tic­i­pates that when the Gover­nor pro­ceeds with the re­quest, USDA Farm Ser­vice Agency of­fi­cials will be­gin to visit farms in the af­fected ar­eas and make for­mal da­m­age as­sess­ments. A USDA sec­re­tar­ial des­ig­na­tion makes farm op­er­a­tors in pri­mary coun­ties and those coun­ties con­tigu­ous to such pri­mary coun­ties el­i­gi­ble to be con­sid­ered for cer­tain as­sis­tance from USDA-FSA.

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