By Brandon Moseley

Alabama Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries Rick Pate (R) announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated seven Alabama counties as primary natural disaster areas, due to excessive rainfall caused by Tropical Storm Ida and continued excess rain following the storm.

This Secretarial natural disaster designation allows the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) to extend emergency credit to producers recovering from natural disasters through emergency loans, along with aid relief recently appropriated by Congress for natural disasters in 2020 and 2021.

The Primary Counties Eligible in Alabama (7) are:

  • Baldwin

  • Elmore

  • Mobile

  • Tallapoosa

  • Dale

  • Escambia

  • Montgomery

Counties that are contiguous to primary impact counties (23) are also eligible:

  • Autauga

  • Clay

  • Geneva

  • Macon

  • Barbour

  • Coffee

  • Henry

  • Monroe

  • Bullock

  • Conecuh

  • Houston

  • Pike

  • Chambers

  • Coosa

  • Lee

  • Randolph

  • Chilton

  • Covington

  • Lowndes

  • Washington

  • Clarke

  • Crenshaw

  • Sumter (contiguous to a primary impacted county in Mississippi)

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, provided eligibility requirements are met. The disaster relief for qualifying events in 2020 and 2021 will be announced by USDA in the near future, which will be a continuation of the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus (WHIP+).

To apply, farm operators in primary counties and those counties contiguous to such primary counties are eligible for certain assistance from FSA. The loans will be reviewed by FSA based on the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability. Farmers have until August 8, 2022, to apply for emergency loans. FSA considers each emergency loan application on its own merits, taking into account the extent of production losses on the farm and the security and repayment ability of the operator.

To inquire about eligibility, farmers should contact their local county FSA office for additional information.

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