Yellowhammer News: Roby makes push for agricultural disaster area declaration in Hurricane Michael’s wake

October 17, 2018
Representative Roby In The News

Because of Hurricane Michael and the path of destruction left in its wake last week, Alabama farmers are looking at potentially $100 million in losses from the toll it took on the cotton crop alone.

Before the storm, farmers in southeastern Alabama were looking at harvesting a bumper cotton crop that was on the verge of being ready for harvest.

Add to that the impact the storm had on livestock, peanuts, timber and other aspects of the Wiregrass region’s agriculture, and farmers have a crisis on their hands, as Rep. Martha Roby (R-Montgomery) put it in an address to the Dale County Republican Party Executive Committee on Monday night.

“As a member of the Alabama delegation, and particularly a member of this district, I’ve always fought for our farmers,” Roby said to an audience at the Hoppergrass Restaurant in Ozark. “I will continue to fight for our farmers, and at this very uncertain time, we are working very closely to ensure that we put some of these pieces back together for those that have been hurt so much. The cotton crop in some areas has completely been destroyed, and I know there are areas all over the Wiregrass that are struggling with even whether or not our peanut crop will survive. There are some answers we just don’t know yet – timber, poultry. There’s cattle missing. I saw 1,500 acres of cucumbers that might not make it. We have a crisis on our hands.”

Roby said she had been in touch with the White House and Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, and on Tuesday afternoon, she released a letter requesting counties hit by Hurricane Michael to be declared agricultural disaster areas.

Roby told Yellowhammer News on Monday there were different government agencies with which to coordinate the disaster response, and she vowed to do so in her role representing the state’s second congressional district.

“The federal response is on many different levels,” she said. “There’s different government agencies that are involved. You have the FEMA piece. You have USDA. What I want the folks that I represent in these impacted areas to know is that I’m fighting for Alabama. When it comes to those who suffered individual property as well as the immediate response out the gate for the first responders, to the agriculture that we know is devastated in this storm. I would invite anybody who has a question about the process to meet with me, call me. We have an open line to anybody who has got questions. It’s going to be a recovery that we’ve got to rebuild together, and I just want the folks that I represent to know that I’m right in it with them.”