Fed Relief for AL Farms Hit by Disasters

Alabama farmers who have been impacted by natural disasters in 2018 and 2019 can now apply for federal assistance.

U.S. Secretary Sonny Perdue announced Monday that farmers can now apply through the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus (WHIP+).

“U.S. agriculture has been dealt a hefty blow by extreme weather over the last several years and 2019 is no exception,” Perdue said. “The scope of this year’s prevented planting alone is devastating, and although these disaster program benefits will not make producers whole, we hope the assistance will ease some of the financial strain farmers, ranchers and their families are experiencing.”

Alabama Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries Rick Pate said, “We appreciate this much needed disaster relief program focused on farmers impacted by natural disasters. These past two years, farmers and rural communities have experienced tremendous losses.”

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Alabama counties that received qualifying disaster declarations and designations for damage that occurred in 2018 were: Barbour, Calhoun, Clarke, Cullman, Dale, DeKalb, Etowah, Geneva, Henry, Houston, Mobile, Pike, St. Clair and Washington.

Alabama counties eligible for damage suffered in 2019 only are: Blount, Cherokee, Colbert, DeKalb, Franklin, Greene, Jackson, Lamar, Madison, Marion, Morgan, Pike, St. Clair and Winston.

More than $3 billion is available through the disaster relief package passed by Congress and signed by President Donald Trump in early June. WHIP+ builds on the successes of its predecessor program, the 2017 Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program. In addition, the relief package included new programs to cover losses for milk dumped or removed from the commercial market and losses of eligible farm stored commodities due to eligible disaster events in 2018 and 2019. Also, prevented planting supplemental disaster payments will provide support to producers who were prevented from planting eligible crops for the 2019 crop year.

Producers in counties that did not receive a disaster declaration or designation may still apply for WHIP+ but must provide supporting documentation to establish that the crops were directly affected by a qualifying disaster loss.

For eligibility details on USDA Farm Service Agency disaster assistance programs, contact your local USDA service center or visit farmers.gov/recover/whip-plus.

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