HEADLAND, Ala. (WDHN) — It’s been more than two years since Hurricane Michael hit parts of the Wiregrass.
Now, the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries has announced a program designed to give farmers impacted relief.
The ADAI recently announced the Alabama Agriculture Relief Program. This is a $14.9 million project for farmers impacted by Hurricane Michael.
Back in 2018, Hurricane Michael caused severe agriculture damage all over the Wiregrass, which according to Henry County Extension Specialist, William Birdsong caused a huge economic loss for the area and state.
“Agriculture is the largest industry in the state of Alabama with around $70 to $80 billion so we want to keep this industry healthy,” Birdsong said. “We need our industry to be healthy, anytime our farmers will make money they are going to bring it to the cities and bring it to the towns.”
According to Birdsong, the economic impact from Hurricane Michael ranged between $200 and $250 million dollars.
Birdsong said this block grant fund is a catch-all to clean up where officials saw help is needed. The program will cover losses associated with cattle, poultry, pecan production, horticulture crops, and uninsured infrastructure losses.
“Some of these losses, these uninsurable losses can certainly very negatively impact the industry,” Birdsong said. “In order to keep the industry healthy and economically viable, that is the reason for these block grant funds.”
The $14.9 million relief program will provide the necessary funds to farmers. These funds will help cover expenses related to the loss of cattle, crops, and even some infrastructure damage.
There are some qualifications for farmers wanting to apply for the program.
The producer must be an Alabama resident. The farm must be in one of the 13 Hurricane Michael USDA disaster-declared counties, and applicants must be enrolled in the state of Alabama
Accounting and Resource System.
“This is over two years beyond the disaster event of Hurricane Michael so, therefore, any of these funds that will reach the producer are very much in need for a very long time,” Birdsong said.
Applications for AARP will be available starting on April 26 with the deadline to apply on June 25.