Drought Emergency declared for half of Alabama

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack has declared a drought emergency for 33 Alabama counties.

Those counties are: Autauga, Baldwin, Barbour, Bibb, Bullock, Butler, Chambers, Chilton, Clay, Cleburne, Coffee, Conecuh, Coosa, Covington, Crenshaw, Dale, Dallas, Elmore, Escambia, Geneva, Henry, Houston, Lee, Lowndes, Macon, Montgomery, Perry, Pike, Randolph, Russell, Talladega, Tallapoosa and Wilcox.

This declaration will allow farmers in these counties to be eligible for low-interest federal loans.

{}The following counties were declared "contiguous disaster counties", and they will also be eligible for the low-interest loans: Calhoun, Cherokee, Clarke, Hale, Jefferson, Marengo, Mobile, Monroe, St. Clair, Shelby, Tuscaloosa and Washington.

Governor Bentley says that farmers are suffering through an extended drought, and the rainfall that the state has received this week has not been enough to eliminate the drought conditions.

Commissioner McMillan of the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries says "Farmers should contact their local office of the Farm Service Agency (FSA) to determine their eligibility and begin the process for loan application."