Governor, agriculture commissioner seek disaster declaration from USDA

Updated: Jun. 29, 2017 at 6:24 AM CDT
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MILLBROOK, AL (WSFA) - Alabama farmers are struggling with the effects of massive rainfall totals this spring, prompting Gov. Kay Ivey to formally request Secretary Sonny Perdue, with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), to initiate a disaster declaration process within the impacted counties.

Farmers were already in desperate need of relief from several weeks of large rainfall totals that had saturated their fields. Then tropical storm Cindy d ropped even more rain across the region, causing widespread flooding in south Alabama and a localized flooding in at central Alabama.

SLIDESHOW: Damage to AL farms from flooding

"The potential adverse impact from Tropical Storm Cindy will likely ruin crops that are already planted while at the same time create conditions where other crops cannot be planted and harvested in a timely fashion," said Commissioner McMillan. "Farmers have already spent money on seeds and fertilizer and now they cannot be fully utilized. This is a financial hardship on our farmers. Many Alabamians might not realize the magnitude this kind of disaster event has on agriculture. Aside from creating a less than profitable growing season, this situation only adds to the already depressed prices for agriculture commodities.  The effect of this event will result in an economic loss for rural Alabama. Our farmers will feel the impact of this storm into this fall and winter."

The Commissioner also anticipates that when the Governor proceeds with the request, USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) officials will begin to visit farms in the affected areas and make formal damage assessments.

A USDA secretarial designation makes farm operators in primary counties and those counties contiguous to such primary counties eligible to be considered for certain assistance from USDA-FSA.

"Farmers need to be patient as the secretarial designation process moves along," McMillan added.

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