Congress Approves Agriculture Disaster Assistance for Farmers

By: Mike Gurspan
By: Mike Gurspan

Congress has approved $3 billion dollar agriculture disaster assistance for farmers. It’s targeted to those growers who suffered significant losses due to weather.

The bill also includes a measure by Congressman Terry Everett to help Wiregrass growers during droughts.

Weeks of little or no rain has taken its toll on crops across the tri-states'.

Corn and grazing grass for livestock have been particularly hit in the recently approved federal agriculture assistance bill.

Congressman Terry Everett would like to see a system set-up where farmers would be able to maintain water in times of drought. "I have introduced in the farm bill a measure to help keep water runoff water in farmer reservoirs so they can use it in times of need."

State agricultural officials say it's a steady drum beat.

Deputy Agriculture Commissioner Glen Zorn said, "If federal dollars that were spent in the west, and spent in the southeast would have helped us stay ahead in the event of a drought like we have now."

Long time Coffee County Extension Agent Stan Windham says Alabama has the most free flow of water of any state in the country. "Our guys and ladies in farming our doing the best they can in this time of drought to hang on. Hopefully it won't be long before they get the needed rainfall."

In the Midwest Wheat and Corn Belt, farmers there have had the opposite problem this spring. Record rainfall and flooding has destroyed millions of dollars in crops.

To be eligible for assistance under the disaster assistance bill, a farmer must have lost 35-percent or more of their crop in either 2005, 2006, or 2007 in counties that have been designated natural disasters areas.

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