County eligible for aid

Published 2:50 pm Friday, December 16, 2011

Butler County is one of 26 counties across the state that has been designated as eligible for low-interest emergency loans and disaster assistance due to drought. (FILE PHOTO)

Twenty-six Alabama counties, including Butler County, have been designated as eligible for low-interest emergency loans and disaster assistance, according to a press release from the Farm Service Agency, a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Six counties fall under primary natural disaster areas. Those counties includes Blount, Lawrence, Madison, Marion, Monroe and Morgan. The remaining 20 fall under contiguous counties. Those counties include Baldwin, Butler, Clarke, Colbert, St. Clair, Conecuh, Cullman, Escambia, Etowah, Walker, Fayette, Franklin, Jackson, Jefferson, Wilcox, Lamar, Lauderdale, Limestone, Marshall and Winston.

“Secretary (Tom) Vilsack designated six Alabama counties as disaster areas due to losses caused by excessive rain, flooding, flash flooding, hail, high winds and tornadoes that occurred April 1-30, 2011,” the FSA release said.

Two years ago, the USDA created this opportunity for producers to apply for low-interest emergency loans under disaster situations.

The release also states that losses prompting disaster designations must be due to a natural disaster and have a minimum of 30 percent production loss of at least one crop in the county.

“Eligible producers may borrow up to 100 percent of actual production or physical losses, not to exceed a total amount of $500,000,” the fact sheet released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture said. “EM loans are further limited to a maximum, cumulative principal of $500,000 at any time.

“(One) must meet the agency definition of an established farmer, be citizens or permanent residents of the United States, and have suffered at least a 30-percent loss in crop production; and/or sustained a physical loss to livestock, livestock products, real estate, or chattel property; must have an acceptable credit history, yet be unable to receive credit from commercial sources; must have collateral to secure the loan and ability to repay the loan.”

Interested farmers should contact the USDA Service Centers for more information.