Disaster declaration sought for South Alabama counties from USDA

Farmers are in dire need of some relief after recent excessive rainfall saturated fields in southern portion of Alabama and to add insult to injury, Tropical Storm Cindy dropped additional widespread rainfall in the past few days. Some flooding in south Alabama and overall heavy rainfall has created numerous problems for Alabama agricultural producers including significant crop loss. Some of the crops affected, but not limited to, are cotton, corn, peanuts, soybeans, specialty crops and wheat.

These impressive rainfall totals before the official beginning of summer last week, are unusual and have placed an excessive burden on Alabama farmers.

Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries John McMillan, Alabama Farmers Federation officials and other agricultural groups have provided Governor Kay Ivey’s office and Art Falkner, director of the Alabama Emergency Management Association, the most up-to-date information about the conditions farmers are dealing with on their water-soaked farms.

“Many row crop farmers were already behind schedule because planting had been delayed due to the wet condition of their fields,” said Commissioner McMillan.

“Now as we have officially entered summer, it is almost too late to get seeds in the ground giving them time to grow and be ready by harvest time.”

Officials anticipate Governor Ivey to use the assessments provided by Commissioner McMillan and other stakeholders to declare certain areas disaster areas which allows State of Alabama resources to be used in the short term to assist individuals affected by the current conditions though not necessarily only agriculturally related operations. That assistance must come from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The Commissioner also anticipates that when the Governor proceeds with the request to have an official disaster declaration from USDA Secretary Perdue, that USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) officials will begin to visit farms in the affected areas and make official damage assessments. Once the declaration is made then farmers in the declared counties can take the next step by contacting their local USDA service center to qualify for USDA FSA low interest loans.