Farm Service Agency Administrator Jonathan Coppess met earlier this month with local farmers in Wetumpka, Ala., to discuss how assistance from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act) has helped their farming operation.
“I came here because it wasn’t hot enough in D.C.,” said Coppess, who drew laughs from the farmers and employees gathered at the Elmore County Farm Service Agency Office. “It’s an opportunity for me to get out of D.C. and talk to farmers to get some on the ground, real-world experience about what our programs are doing for farmers.”
Elmore County cotton farmer Sanford Peeples said the agency’s Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments (SURE) program helped him recoup losses to his cotton crop from the 2008 drought. “During that summer my harvest was at least two-thirds smaller than what I had expected,” said Peeples. Crop insurance covered some of the loss; however, the SURE supplement, which was funded through the Recovery Act, helped to cover the difference.
Alabama was allotted more than $1.9 million to help farmers recover from the economic downturn and natural disasters that occurred in 2008. Nearly 50 projects in the state have been funded through FSA using Recovery Act funds. Over $1.2 million was received under the Farm Loan Program, and $726,802 was allocated under the SURE program.
Coppess also visited employees and farmers at the Alabama FSA state office and the Autauga and Tuscaloosa County FSA Service Center offices. He also addressed about 200 producers, landowners and agricultural workers from Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Kentucky and Tennessee during the Federation of Southern Cooperatives’ annual meeting in Epes, Ala.