The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated DeKalb County and Jackson County in Alabama as “primary natural disaster areas” due damage and losses caused by the ongoing drought.
“Our hearts go out to those Alabama farmers and ranchers affected by recent natural disasters,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “President Obama and I are committed to ensuring that agriculture remains a bright spot in our nation’s economy by sustaining the successes of America’s farmers, ranchers, and rural communities through these difficult times. We’re also telling Alabama producers that USDA stands with you and your communities when severe weather and natural disasters threaten to disrupt your livelihood.”
The U.S.D.A has also stated that ranchers and farmers in the Alabama counties of Cherokee, Etowah, Madison and Marshall also qualify for natural disaster assistance because, “…their counties are contiguous.” In our area, Franklin County, TN is part of the qualified area.
All of the listed counties were designated natural disaster areas on July 6, 2016, making all qualified farm operators in the designated areas eligible for low interest emergency (EM) loans from USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), provided eligibility requirements are met.
Farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of the declaration to apply for loans to help cover part of their actual losses. FSA will consider each loan application on its own merits, taking into account the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability.
Besides these loans, the Farm Service Agency (FSA) has a variety of programs to help farmers recover form adverse conditions.
Other FSA programs that can provide assistance, but do not require a disaster declaration, include the Emergency Conservation Program; Livestock Forage Disaster Program; Livestock Indemnity Program; Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program; and the Tree Assistance Program.
Interested farmers may contact their local USDA Service Centers for further information on eligibility requirements and application procedures for these and other programs.
Additional information is also available online at http://disaster.fsa.usda.gov.
FSA news releases are available on FSA’s website at www.fsa.usda.gov via the “Newsroom” link.