County included in disaster declaration

Published 1:07 am Saturday, December 12, 2015

Covington County is among the 25 Alabama counties have been approved for a Secretarial Natural Disaster Designation from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Gov. Robert Bentley announced Thursday. Farmers in the 25 designated counties are eligible to be considered for assistance from the USDA-Farm Service Agency.

The designation by the USDA was prompted by excessive rainfall, wind and flooding that occurred this year. The severe weather caused extensive damage to many crops during the 2015 growing season.

Covington County farmer Rickey Wiggins explained that the declaration only makes farmers eligible for loans which much be repaid.

He said he doesn’t see much of a need for this aid in Covington County.

Farmers in eligible counties have eight months to apply for FSA emergency loans. The applications will be evaluated individually based on direct production losses.

Bentley sent a letter to United States Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack on Nov. 12, 2015, requesting assistance for farmers in Alabama counties or the counties the USDA deemed appropriate. Secretary Vilsack on Wednesday formally designated 13 Alabama counties as primary natural disaster areas and 12 contiguous counties were added in accordance with the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act.

declaration request.”

The 25 counties covered by the natural disaster designation are: Baldwin, Barbour, Butler, Bullock, Chambers, Coffee, Conecuh, Covington, Crenshaw, Dale, Elmore, Escambia, Geneva, Henry, Houston, Lee, Lowndes, Macon, Monroe, Montgomery, Pike, Randolph, Russell, Tallapoosa and Wilcox.