Farmers and property owners are still recovering from Hurricane Michael, a Category 4 storm that hit Florida beaches Oct. 10 before whirling a destructive path through Alabama’s Wiregrass region.
The area’s cotton crop took a beating, with near 70 mph winds ripping lint from bolls. Wind and rain damaged remaining lint quality, too, in what was expected to be a bumper crop.
Downed fences, scattered cattle, destroyed structures, snapped timber and damaged crops were common sights in the area.
Officials with the Alabama Forestry Commission (AFC) estimate timber losses at nearly $20 million in Houston County alone. Aerial surveys conducted by the AFC indicate over 42,300 forested acres were damaged by the storm.
President Donald Trump approved a major disaster declaration for the state Nov. 5. Funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is available in Geneva, Henry, Houston and Mobile counties.
The Alabama Farmers Federation and state officials are working to secure further disaster declarations from Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. During the Sunbelt Ag Expo in Moultrie, Georgia, following the storm, Perdue and Vice President Mike Pence pledged to help farmers recover.
To assist farmers in the rebuilding process, the Federation also established a relief fund.
“Farmers in south Alabama received an outpouring of support from neighbors and people across the country,” said Federation President Jimmy Parnell. “Many asked where they can donate to help farmers who’ve lost their crops and barns, so we have created a special fund within the Alabama Farmers Agriculture Foundation to accept these gifts.”
Donations are tax deductible. Visit AlabamaFarmersFoundation.org to donate or send checks payable to Alabama Farmers Agriculture Foundation to P.O. Box 11000, Montgomery, AL 36191.
“Hurricane Michael devastated crops, homes, barns and livelihoods in the Wiregrass,” said Parnell, who is also president of the foundation. “Farmers are resilient, but recovery takes time and money. Alabama farmers are grateful for financial help from friends and supporters — and covet your thoughts and prayers during the rebuilding process.”
All funds collected by the foundation through Nov. 30 will be targeted toward farmer losses not covered by a farmowner policy, crop insurance or disaster relief programs.
For more information, contact the Foundation at (334) 612-5525 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.