Congressman Robert Aderholt, R-Haleyville, has announced the operational start of the Alabama Irrigation Initiative, a $30 million federal investment to expand crop irrigation throughout the state.
According to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, just 163,338 of Alabama farmland is irrigated, compared to more than 1.1 million acres in Georgia. Aderholt said a top goal of his on the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture has been closing that gap by making irrigation systems more affordable for farmers.
“Investing in Alabama’s irrigation infrastructure will bring significant benefits to crop yields, farm income, and rural communities as a whole,” Aderholt said at an event launching the initiative at Clifton Farms in Hillsboro. “I look forward to seeing more projects constructed around the state in the coming years. There is a lot of work ahead, but it will make a big difference for Alabama agriculture.”
Aderholt was chairman of the Agriculture Subcommittee for several years while Republicans held the majority in the House of Representatives.
Through the Alabama Irrigation Initiative, farmers can apply to receive up to 50% of the cost of building an irrigation system for new crop acreage. Crops with a reliable water supply produce higher yields and are less susceptible to periods of sustained drought.
Farmers can apply for these grants at their local Soil and Water Conservation District office.