The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated 11 counties in Alabama as natural disaster areas because of losses caused by drought that began April 1, 2011, and continues.

The counties are: Baldwin, Barbour, Coffee, Covington, Dale, Escambia, Geneva, Henry, Houston, Mobile and Russell

Farmers and ranchers in the following counties in Alabama also qualify for natural disaster assistance because their counties are contiguous:

 

Bullock                        Butler                          Clarke                          Conecuh

Lee                              Macon                         Monroe                        Pike

Washington

Farmers and ranchers in the following counties in Florida, Georgia and Mississippi also qualify for natural disaster assistance because their counties are contiguous:

 

Florida                                                           

Escambia         Holmes            Jackson            Okaloosa         Santa Rosa      Walton

                                                                                                                                                                              

Georgia                                                                      

Chattahoochee            Early                            Quitman                      Stewart                                                                                         

Clay                             Muscogee                    Seminole                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                                              Mississippi                                                                 

George                                    Greene                                     Jackson

All counties listed above were designated natural disaster areas Sept. 21, 2011, making all qualified farm operators in the designated areas eligible for low interest emergency (EM) loans from USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), provided eligibility requirements are met.

Farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of the declaration to apply for loans to help cover part of their actual losses.

FSA will consider each loan application on its own merits, taking into account the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability. FSA has a variety of programs, in addition to the EM loan program, to help eligible farmers recover from adversity.

USDA also has made other programs available to assist farmers and ranchers, including the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Program (SURE), which was approved as part of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008; the Emergency Conservation Program; Federal Crop Insurance; and the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program. Interested farmers may contact their local USDA Service Centers for further information on eligibility requirements and application procedures for these and other programs.

Additional information is also available online at http://disaster.fsa.usda.gov.