Agriculture & Industries Commissioner Ron Sparks has announced that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Thomas Vilsack has designated all 67 Alabama counties as areas of primary natural disaster due to losses caused by drought and excessive heat during the period of March 1, 2010 and continuing.

A Secretarial disaster designation makes farm operators in all designated counties eligible to be considered for assistance from the Farm Service Agency (FSA), provided eligibility requirements are met.

This assistance includes FSA emergency loans and the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments (SURE) Program. Farmers in eligible counties have 8 months from the date of a Secretarial disaster declaration to apply for emergency loan assistance. SURE Program applications for 2010 crop losses will be accepted in 2011, when the 2010 farm revenue data required by statute becomes available.

Farmers and producers who would like more information should contact their local FSA office.