Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns announces that $2.8 billion in aid to assist victims of the 2005 hurricane season. Agricultural producers will receive $1.2 billion through various programs and $1.6 billion to restore homes and rural communities.

“These funds will help producers of many different crops and livestock to recover from damage to their agricultural operations,” Johanns says. “We're also pleased to assist rural residents who lost their homes and to help rebuild rural communities through grants and loans to restore water, electrical and telecommunications systems.”

Johanns authorized the use of $250 million from Section 32 funds in October 2005 for crop disaster, livestock, tree and aquaculture assistance. Producers in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina and Texas counties declared primary presidential or secretarial disaster areas in 2005 because of hurricanes are eligible to apply for assistance under the new programs.

A complete list of these counties and additional information about USDA hurricane assistance is available at USDA Service Centers nationwide and online at www.usda.gov/HurricaneInfo.xml.