As of Oct. 20, 2016, 32 counties in Alabama have been designated as primary natural disaster areas and 15 additional counties are classified as contiguous counties by the U.S. Department of Agriculture because of the recent drought.
Due to a significant number of counties impacted by drought conditions, several drought assistance programs are now offered by the USDA. Programs offered by USDA- Farm Service Agency are:
Livestock Forage Disaster Program – LFP is designed to provide compensation to eligible livestock producers who have suffered grazing losses due to drought. The grazing losses must be due to a qualifying drought condition during a county’s normal grazing period. Eligibility requirements are for those livestock producers who own or lease land in a county assessed by the U.S. Drought Monitor as: D2 (severe drought) for 8 consecutive weeks, D3 (extreme drought) or D4 (exceptional drought). LFP payments are calculated based on the drought conditions supported by the U.S. Drought Monitor.
Emergency Loan Program – An emergency loan is offered by FSA to producers within counties declared by the president or designated by the secretary of agriculture as a primary disaster area. Contiguous counties are eligible for emergency loans. A variety of terms must be met in order to become eligible for an emergency loan.
Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program – NAP provides financial assistance to producers of noninsurable crops to protect against natural disasters resulting in minimal yields or crop losses. Drought is considered an eligible cause of loss. Coverage eligibility for NAP applies to those producers who have completed an application of coverage and paid the appropriate service fees before NAP closing dates established by FSA during 2016.
Commissioner John McMillan of the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries is encouraging producers impacted by the drought to contact their local USDA-FSA office regarding eligibility of available programs.
"We want to make certain Alabama producers are aware of all program opportunities offered by USDA-FSA due to losses as a result of the drought," McMillan said.
For contact information to various USDA-FSA county offices in Alabama where producers can inquire about additional program details, visit offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app.