Eight storm-ravaged Alabama counties have been designated primary natural disaster areas by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Farmers and landowners in those counties may be eligible for USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) emergency loans.
The designation covers Clarke, Mobile and Washington counties hit by Tropical Storm Gordon between Sept. 3-6. Producers in the contiguous Alabama counties of Baldwin, Choctaw, Marengo, Monroe and Wilcox, along with George, Greene, Jackson and Wayne counties in Mississippi are also eligible to apply for emergency loans.
Five southeast Alabama counties were declared primary disaster areas by USDA following Hurricane Michael Oct. 10. The primary counties are Barbour, Geneva, Henry, Houston and Pike counties. Seven contiguous counties also are eligible for assistance. They are Bullock, Coffee, Covington, Crenshaw, Dale, Montgomery and Russell counties.
USDA disaster declarations allow FSA to extend emergency credit to producers recovering from natural disasters. Emergency loans can be used to meet various recovery needs, including the replacement of essential items such as equipment or livestock, reorganization of a farming operation or the refinance of certain debts.
Farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of a secretarial disaster declaration to apply for emergency loans.
FSA has a variety of additional programs to help farmers recover from disasters. FSA programs that don’t require a disaster declaration include Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program; Emergency Conservation Program; Livestock Forage Disaster Program; Livestock Indemnity Program; Operating and Farm Ownership Loans; and the Tree Assistance Program.
Farmers may contact a local USDA service center for more information on eligibility requirements and application procedures for programs. Additional info is available online at Farmers.gov/recover. n