FARMERS WELCOME FEDERAL DROUGHT ASSISTANCE
MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- The Alabama Farmers Federation today praised Alabama's congressional delegation for its work to secure funding to help the state's drought-stricken farmers.
"Today's announcement that USDA will provide $1 million in Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) cost share assistance to farmers in 28 Alabama counties hit hard by the drought is welcomed news. We appreciate the persistence of Alabama's congressional delegation in requesting disaster funding for the state," said Jerry A. Newby, president of the Alabama Farmers Federation.
ECP provides emergency funding and technical assistance for farmers and ranchers to rehabilitate farmland damaged by natural disasters and for carrying out emergency water conservation measures in periods of severe drought. Farm Service Agency county committees determine land eligibility based on on-site inspections of damage, taking into account the type and extent of damage.
Alabama is among 18 states that will share $16 million in new ECP funding. The state's portion of the appropriation is $1,049,300, which is earmarked for eligible conservation practices related to the drought. Other states received funding based on floods, tornados, freeze damage, landslides and ice storms.
Alabama counties selected by the FSA for ECP funding are: Barbour, Blount, Bullock, Calhoun, Clay, Cleburne, Colbert, Coosa, Dale, Elmore, Fayette, Franklin, Geneva, Henry, Jackson, Jefferson, Lamar, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Limestone, Marion, Montgomery, Morgan, Pike, Randolph, Tallapoosa, Walker and Winston.
"While this money will provide help to replant scorched pastures and provide water for cattle, more assistance is needed in these counties and throughout the state," Newby said. "The 100-year drought and record-high temperatures have affected every sector of our farm economy and every county in the state. We will continue to work with our senators and congressmen to secure additional help for farmers, who we all depend on for food, fiber, timber and fuel."
In a release following the announcement, Sen. Richard Shelby pledged to continue seeking additional assistance for the state's farmers.
"Alabama is suffering from the worst drought in over 100 years and now we are faced with a severe heat wave with no relief from Mother Nature in sight," said Shelby. "As the temperatures continue to rise, we must ensure that Alabama's farmers, who are facing heavy crop and livestock losses, have the financial assistance to help them recover from this disaster. I will continue to do everything I can to ensure that assistance is available and I encourage Alabama's farmers to take full advantage of this funding."
Click here to read the USDA news release.