USDA Announces Aid Package for Southern Farmers Hurt by Hurricanes

Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue says his agency is making $800 million available to agricultural producers in Alabama, Florida, and Georgia, who were affected by Hurricanes Michael and Florence. These state block grants are part of a larger $3 billion package to aid producers in recovering from natural disasters in 2018 and 2019. The broader package includes the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program, as well as programs for loss of milk and stored commodities. “Natural disasters hit producers with some hefty blows in the past couple of years,” Perdue says. “This relief complements USDA’s tool chest of disaster assistance programs and crop insurance.” He says the additional aid helps producers who’ve suffered losses beyond what the regular USDA programs can cover. USDA is working out the final details of the grants with the Florida governor’s office and the state departments of agriculture in Alabama and Georgia. The grants are designed to cover all of the qualifying losses not covered by other USDA disaster assistance programs. Grant funding covers losses of timber, cattle, poultry, as well as necessary expenses related to the loss of horticulture crops and present-value losses associated with pecan production.