DISASTER DECLARATION BRINGS LOANS FOR FARMERS IN 55 ALABAMA COUNTIES
MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- Farmers in all but a dozen Alabama counties hurt by the Easter weekend freeze may qualify for low-interest loans under a disaster declaration issued Monday by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns.
In a letter addressed to Gov. Bob Riley, Johanns announced that after reviewing damage assessment reports and other information from the Farm Service Agency that 41 counties received "sufficient production losses" to warrant a natural disaster declaration. In addition, another 14 contiguous counties qualified for low-interest loans under the Consolidated Farm & Rural Development Act.
Ron Sparks, commissioner of the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries, had estimated $18.8 million in nursery losses and $56.7 million in fruit, crop and hay losses.
Johanns expedited Riley's request at the urging of Sen. Jeff Sessions, Sen. Richard Shelby and Rep. Robert Aderholt.
The designation means that farmers whose losses are beyond what is covered by crop insurance may qualify for a loan at 3.75 percent interest from the Farm Service Agency. That loan can be used for a variety of purposes, including restoring or replacing property, paying production costs, living expenses or refinancing existing debt. Farmers may also be able to defer payment on current loans.
Farmers have eight months to apply for the loans. For more information, contact your closest FSA office or call (334) 279-3500.
Click Here For List Of Eligible Counties