USDA disaster declaration sought for Central, South Ala. counties
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.