Local farmers might receive Hurricane Michael aid

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DALE COUNTY, Ala. (WDHN) — Help might soon be on the way for local producers whose crops suffered due to Hurricane Michael.

Tuesday, the USDA announced assistance will be offered to farmers affected by 2018 and 2019 natural disasters.

Barbour, Dale, Geneva, Henry, Houston and Pike are just a few of the counties that now qualify for disaster declarations from the past two years.

“This is just an aid to try to help them stay in business, remain in business (and) to be able to work it out over time,” said extension agronomist William Birdsong.

With farmers all over the Wiregrass (and around the country) struggling to make ends meet after many of their crops were decimated, the aid is meant to help alleviate some of the financial burdens they continue to face — even with insurance coverage.

“For some of our producers they may be paying off this loss that has been incurred by the hurricane for the next 20 years,” Birdsong said.

Additionally, with farmers’ margins changing drastically over the past years, many need as much help as they can get.

“This is certainly not a get out of jail free card,” Birdsong explained. “This is just a means of an aid to assist our producers to be able to operate.”

According to the USDA, over three billion dollars is available through the disaster relief package and can be dispersed to producers throughout the country.

However, with that money being distributed nation-wide, local farmers recognize it may not be enough.

“Is it going to help us get back where we want to be; possibly not, but every little bit we can get where we can pay back for the past year or past two years in bills would tremendously help us,” said local farmer Adam Sconyers.

Many farmers have started harvesting this season’s crops and hope to be finished by Thanksgiving.

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