WASHINGTON D.C. (WIAT) — Cotton and timber farmers in Alabama and Georgia are still reeling from the massive destruction caused last year by Hurricane Michael.
Officials estimate the storm caused more than $1 billion in agricultural damage along the gulf coast. When Hurricane Michael made landfall in October of 2018, it wasn’t just the gulf coastline that saw devastating damage. In Alabama, a study found more than $200 million in crops and livestock were destroyed.
“The cotton crops really got devastated really bad,” Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) SAID. “Timber industry got hurt very very bad.”
Since last year, Jones has been pushing for congress to pass a federal aid package to help farmers across the southeast.
“Example, the pecan industry, which is housed in my home state of Georgia, 70 percent of it was wiped out,” Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) said.
Isakson’s state saw more than a billion dollars in agriculture damage. However, so far, efforts to pass an aid package have been stymied by government gridlock.
“We now have a dire crisis,” Isakson said. “We have an emergency.”
The senators say many farmers in their states are teetering on the brink of bankruptcy and need an influx of cash before the spring planting season.
“The president has looked at it, he has signed off on it,” Jones said. “We’re hoping it can move in both the senate and the house very quickly.”
Congress is notoriously slow to move legislation, but the senators are hopeful they can pass a bill in time for farmers to avoid financial ruin.