Riley Asks for Federal Agriculture Disaster Declaration

Montgomery, AL – Governor Riley has asked the U-S- Department of Agriculture to declare Alabama a federal agriculture disaster area after Hurricane Ivan ruined the vast majority of the state's pecan crop and damaged other crops. An agriculture disaster declaration would allow farmer to apply for low-interest federal loans and receive other types of assistance, including emergency haying and grazing payments. Alabama Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks says the state's nine million-dollar pecan crop was mostly wiped out by the hurricane. His agency is currently assessing damage to the state's 200 million-dollar cotton crop, which he says also suffered significant damage. Sparks says the state's 194-thousand acres of peanuts were worth about 120 million dollars. He says they were also hurt, but the extent of the damage is still unclear.