Almost $25 million in federal disaster aid has been released to help Alabama farmers and timber producers in several southern counties to recover from last year’s Hurricane Michael.
“Farmers in the southeast portion of Alabama are still feeling the effects of destruction caused by Hurricane Michael one year ago,” said Alabama Department of Agriculture & Industries Commissioner Rick Pate in a press release on the announcement. “We realize that these disaster funds will not make affected farmers whole again but this funding may sustain their operations enough to stay afloat.”
The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced earlier this month that the agency had awarded $800 million in disaster aid to several southern states impacted by the category 5 hurricane, which made landfall in Florida on Oct. 10, 2018, decimating Mexico Beach and parts of Panama City.
Strong winds from the hurricane also knocked down trees and power lines, and damaging crops in four southern Alabama counties – Geneva, Henry, Houston and Mobile counties – which were all later declared disaster areas.
The Alabama Cooperative Extension System has estimated that the hurricane resulted in $204 million in damages to agriculture in those counties.
“The damage done by Hurricane Michael to Alabama forests continues to affect timber producers,” Alabama State Forester Rick Oates in the press release. “Forest landowners not only lost the trees that were destroyed but have not been able to reforest because the clean-up from such a dramatic loss takes time.” Oates continued, “Even though these relief funds will pale in comparison to the actual loss felt by forest landowners, the assistance will help.”
Producers affected by disasters are encouraged to visit the Disaster Assistance Discovery Tool on farmers.gov.
To apply for WHIP+ and other USDA disaster assistance programs, producers should contact their local USDA service center or visit farmers.gov.