By Debra Davis
Three Alabama counties have been designated as primary natural disaster areas from damages caused by Tropical Storm Gordon between Sept. 3-6. The designation, announced by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, covers Clarke, Mobile and Washington counties.
“Tropical Storm Gordon was a slow-moving storm with strong winds and heavy rain,” said Alabama Farmers Federation President Jimmy Parnell. “Cotton and other crops, along with pecan orchards, in southwest Alabama received substantial damage. As farmers continue their recovery, this declaration provides additional options to them.”
Farmers and landowners in those counties may be eligible for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) emergency loans. This designation allows 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.
U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-Ala., said the declaration was good news for farmers in his district.
“I appreciate the Department of Agriculture and Secretary Purdue’s efforts to support farmers in southwest Alabama who were impacted by Tropical Storm Gordon earlier this year,” Byrne said. “It is critically important that our farmers receive the support they need following severe weather events.”
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.
The deadline to apply for these loans is July 8, 2019.
FSA will review the loans based on the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability.
FSA has a variety of additional programs to help farmers recover from the impacts of this disaster. FSA programs that do not 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 their local USDA service center for further information on eligibility requirements and application procedures for these and other programs. Additional information is also available online at https://www.farmers.gov/recover.