Alabama Agriculture & Industries Commissioner Ron Sparks has established a toll-free hotline for Alabama farmers who may be in need of disaster assistance.

Many farmers who are still feeling the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina are now suffering due to the drought and also continue to experience difficulty with their Federal Crop Insurance claims they filed following disasters in years past.

“Alabama farmers and producers need all the assistance available to recover the loss of income,” says Sparks. “We want to help them by providing assistance with their insurance claims for 2005 and 2006 production losses through this hotline.”

In operation now, and lasting until Nov. 1, 2006, farmers may call and share their concerns with the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries by using the 1-800 number hotline. Callers will be prompted to leave a voice message that includes their name, phone number along with the most convenient time to be reached at that number, and a summary of the problem experienced. Throughout the day, department staff will be retrieving messages and returning telephone calls to offer their assistance.

“We understand this hotline will not cure all of the problems our farmers are experiencing, but our goal is to add further assistance to Alabama producers during these difficult times,” adds Sparks.

“We will do everything we can to try and make things easier. Just give us a call at 1-800-951-1275.”