WIREGRASS, Ala (WDHN)— Eight Wiregrass counties have been named disaster areas after freezing weather in March affected local farmers and this year’s crop.

On May 19, Governor Kay Ivey sent a letter to the United States Secretary of Agriculture Thomas J. Vilsack, requesting he grants a disaster declaration to a total of eighteen Alabama, Georgia, and Florida counties.

In the letter, Gov. Ivey described that between March 18 and March 23, the state experienced extremely cold temperatures, which resulted in the loss of blueberries, strawberries, and peaches throughout southwest and central Alabama. Carrots were also reported to be affected by at least one producer and Ivey says it’s possible other crop production was affected.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture issued the disaster declaration this week.

Houston, Henry, Geneva, Dale, Barbour, Covington, Pike, and Crenshaw counties were all named disaster areas.

Other counties included in the disaster areas are:

  • Balwin County
  • Elmore County
  • Montgomery County
  • Autauga County
  • Conecuh County
  • Bullock County
  • Early County, Georgia
  • Clay County, Georgia
  • Stewart County, Georgia
  • Okaloosa County, Florida

Ivey also asked that the Alabama Farm Service Agency perform damage assessments of the affected counties to determine the extent of production losses and give an outlook for future losses due to the freeze.

Alabama’s farmers are vital to Alabamians and Americans alike. They put the food on our tables and are a center point of our economy. This much needed disaster designation will help these hardworking men and women recover from lost crops resulting from an unpredictable change of temperature. I know this will help a good deal, and I am certainly proud to have the backs of our farmers during this recovery process and always.

Gov. Kay Ivey

Gov. Ivey says help is on the way for local farmers, but it is unknown when and how the help will come.