50 Alabama counties declared agriculture disaster areas - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

50 Alabama counties declared agriculture disaster areas

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It has been one of the wettest years on record for the state of Alabama.

"The 60 days of June we have had roughly 49 or 50 rainy days in some parts in central and south Alabama," explains Dale Monks, AU professor and Extension Row Crop Agronomist

Governor Robert Bentley has announced that 50 Alabama counties are under a Secretarial Natural Disaster Designation from the United States Department of Agriculture.

This makes farmers in those counties eligible to be considered for assistance from the USDA-Farm Service Agency.

"In order to be eligible for a loan, they must have operated a farm in one of the disaster counties during the year of 2013 and they must have had at least a 30 percent loss in their crop production due to the damages done by excessive rain," says Farm Loan Manager, Danny Lindsey.

The counties covered by the primary natural disaster designation in our area are Macon, Bullock, Barbour, Tallapoosa and Russell counties.

Counties that touch those impacted areas are also eligible for aid and in our area include Chambers, Lee, and Randolph counties.

"We've had disaster designations for a number of years, but in the past several years its been more due to excessive drought and this year is just the opposite," explains Lindsey.

The loan amounts will vary, depending on each farmer's total losses

"There is a huge investment made in the spring and now we're at the point where we need to be harvesting and the weather plays so much into it," explains Monks.

Farmers have until May 19, 2014 to apply for emergency loans under this designation.

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