Alabama Agriculture & Industries Commissioner Ron Sparks has expressed his concern for farmers as the drought continues to worsen across most of the state. The U.S. Drought Monitor has been updated to show that 73.1 percent of the state is experiencing a D4, or exceptional, level of drought and an additional 12.4 percent is at D3, or extreme level.

Earlier this month, Alabama’s drought conditions appeared to be improving with only 51.8 percent of the state included in the D4 level.

“We have been overly optimistic because of the sporadic rain we have had across the state in the last few weeks,” said Sparks.

“But the truth is, a little rain is not going to help right now. Even with the showers we have had, we now have more than 85 percent of the state in extreme or worse conditions.”

Last week the federal government pledged $1.04 million dollars in Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) funding for drought in Alabama. The ECP program gives producers additional resources to provide water for livestock in drought situations, as well as to repair conservation structures.

The program is administered by the Farm Service Agency. Eligible producers will receive cost-share assistance for the cost of the approved practices.

“Not only have our farmers been suffering through the highest level of drought in the entire United States, but now we are experiencing record breaking temperatures that may cause even more losses,” added Commissioner Sparks.

“I am glad they are sending money to Alabama and I hope this is just the beginning of the relief efforts for our farmers.”