“While much of the state has received rain this week, it is not enough to eliminate the severe and extreme drought conditions that many places are experiencing,” Governor Bentley said. “Farmers across Alabama are suffering through what has been an extended drought from last year. We appreciate Secretary Vilsack's response to this critical situation that affects so many Alabama families.”
In a July 12 letter to Governor Bentley, Secretary Vilsack designated the following 33 counties as “primary natural disaster areas” suffering from severe or extreme drought:
-Autauga, Baldwin, Barbour, Bibb, Bullock, Butler, Chambers, Chilton, Clay, Cleburne, Coffee, Conecuh, Coosa, Covington, Crenshaw, Dale, Dallas, Elmore, Escambia, Geneva, Henry, Houston, Lee, Lowndes, Macon, Montgomery, Perry, Pike, Randolph, Russell, Talladega, Tallapoosa and Wilcox
An additional 12 counties were named as “contiguous disaster counties.” Those counties are also eligible for federal low-interest loans and include:
-Calhoun, Cherokee, Clarke, Hale, Jefferson, Marengo, Mobile, Monroe, St. Clair, Shelby, Tuscaloosa and Washington
“There are many growers of commodity crops such as corn, soybeans, cotton and peanuts, who have suffered damage from the drought,” said Commissioner McMillan of the Alabama Department of Agriculture & Industries. “Farmers should contact their local office of the Farm Service Agency (FSA) to determine their eligibility and begin the process for loan application.”
Additional counties could be added to the declaration in the coming weeks as the USDA Drought Monitor http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu) provides weekly reports on drought conditions. The counties declared as primary natural disaster areas this week have faced severe drought conditions for at least eight consecutive weeks or extreme drought conditions at any time during the growing season.
McMillan noted that farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of a secretarial disaster declaration to apply for emergency loan assistance. FSA will consider each emergency loan application based on objective standards with regard to production losses, security available and repayment ability.
Below is Secretary Vilsack’s emergency declaration letter:
Dear Governor Bentley:
With the publication of the final rule of the disaster designation on July 12, 2012, found at 7 CFR 759, I am designating 33 Alabama counties as primary natural disaster areas in accordance with 7 CFR 759.5(a), due to a recent drought. The primary counties included under this designation are:
-Autauga, Chambers, Coosa, Escambia, Lowndes, Randolph, Baldwin Chilton, Covington, Geneva, Macon, Russell, Barbour, Clay, Crenshaw, Henry, Montgomery, Talladega, Bibb, Cleburne, Dale, Houston, Perry, Tallapoosa, Bullock, Coffee, Dallas, Lee, Pike, Wilcox, Butler, Conecuh, Elmore
These counties have suffered from a drought intensity value of at least D2 (Drought-Severe) for 8 or more consecutive weeks or D3 (Drought-Extreme) or higher at any time during the growing season according to the U. S. Drought Monitor (see http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/).
In accordance with section 321(a) ofthe Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act, 12 counties are named as contiguous disaster counties. The contiguous counties included under this designation are:
-Calhoun, Cherokee, Clarke, Hale, Jefferson, Marengo, Mobile, Monroe, St. Clair, Shelby, Tuscaloosa, Washington
A Secretarial disaster designation makes farm operators in primary counties and those counties contiguous to such primary counties eligible to be considered for certain assistance from the Farm Service Agency (FSA), provided eligibility requirements are met.
This assistance includes FSA emergency loans. Farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of a Secretarial disaster declaration to apply for emergency loan assistance. FSA will consider each emergency loan application on its own merits, taking into account the extent of production losses, security available, and repayment ability.
Local FSA offices can provide affected farmers with further information.
Thomas J. Vilsack