USDA designates 6 counties in Alabama as primary natural disaster areas

Published: Dec. 9, 2011 at 6:36 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 6, 2012 at 1:37 PM CST
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WASHINGTON —The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated six counties in Alabama as natural disaster areas due to losses caused by excessive rain, flooding, flash flooding, hail, high winds and tornadoes that occurred April 1-30, 2011.

Those counties are:

Blount                Lawrence           Madison             Marion

Monroe             Morgan

"Alabama producers can continue to count on USDA to provide emergency assistance during difficult times," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "America's farmers and rural communities are vitally important to our nation's economy, producing the food, feed, fiber and fuel that continue to help us grow. President Obama and I are committed to using the resources at our disposal to reduce the impact of these disasters on Alabama producers and help to get those affected back on their feet."

Farmers and ranchers in the following counties in Alabama also qualify for natural disaster assistance because their counties are contiguous:

Baldwin             Conecuh            Fayette               Lamar

Butler                 Cullman             Franklin             Lauderdale

Clarke                Escambia          Jackson              Limestone

Colbert               Etowah             Jefferson            Marshall

St. Clair              Walker             Wilcox               Winston

Farmers and ranchers in the following counties in Mississippi and Tennessee also qualify for natural disaster assistance because their counties are contiguous:

Mississippi

Itawamba and Monroe

Tennessee

Franklin and Lincoln

All counties listed above were designated natural disaster areas Dec. 8, 2011, 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. FSA has a variety of programs, in addition to the EM loan program, to help eligible farmers recover from adversity.

USDA also has made other programs available to assist farmers and ranchers, including the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Program (SURE), which was approved as part of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008; the Emergency Conservation Program; Federal Crop Insurance; and the Noninsured Crop Disaster 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.

Secretary Vilsack also reminds producers that the department's authority to operate the five disaster assistance programs authorized by the 2008 Farm Bill expired on Sept. 30, 2011. This includes SURE; the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP); the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees, and Farm-Raised Fish (ELAP); the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP); and the Tree Assistance Program (TAP). Production losses in the counties listed above are covered because the event triggering the loss occurred prior to the expiration of these programs; however, production losses due to disasters occurring after Sept. 30, 2011, are not eligible for disaster program coverage.

Information from USDA news release.