Drought assistance available through USDA

Published 1:18 am Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Some relief for local farmers that were hurt by last year’s severe drought may be on the way, courtesy of assistance offered by the USDA.
This week the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced that the agency is providing funding to assist landowners and farms that were negatively impacted by last year’s drought.
Farmers statewide suffered losses from months of low rainfall and eligible landowners are encouraged to apply for assistance by July 28, 2017.
Landowners that are identified as “high priority-extreme drought” will receive the highest priority for assistance because they were impacted the most. Covington County and surrounding areas are listed as “medium priority-severe drought.”
Funding for assistance will be provided through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and will address issues with fencing, water troughs, pasture, hay land re-establishment, wells, prescribed grazing and other issues.
These practices will not only go towards recovering some losses from the drought, but will also serve as a proactive step to help farmers and landowners in the case of future droughts.
“Landowners across the state have weathered the drought for months and these funds will assist them in replenishing losses and doing what they can to help their grazing lands recover,” State Conservationist Ben Malone said in a statement.
The USDA reported more than $30 million in disaster funds distributed nationally for livestock feed programs and non-insured disaster support, during the worst of the drought last year.
Any landowners who are interested in applying for drought funding should contact the Andalusia USDA Services Center at 334-222-3519, ext. 3.