Nine Alabama counties lying along the Georgia border are suffering from exceptional or extreme drought conditions, according to the U.S. drought monitor. Only the southwestern counties have had normal rainfall or more. The federal government declared a drought emergency in July, making farmers in 33 counties eligible for low-cost loans.
Farmers can also take advantage of a new tax credit for installing irrigation systems—as much as 20 percent of the cost, up to $10, 000. The state has 2.5 million acres that could benefit from irrigation, experts at Auburn University say, but only 120, 000 acres are irrigated. Irrigating a million acres “could provide a boost in our agriculture industry equal to the same economic impact as two auto plants, or 26, 000 jobs, ” said state Rep. Chad Fincher (R-Semmes), who sponsored the tax credit legislation.
By Nedra Bloom