Local News

Farmers Flooded by Floyd Could Lose Aid Workers

Posted April 6, 2000 7:00 a.m. EDT

— Many farmers could lose the help they need to recover from Hurricane Floyd if hundreds of flood workers get pink slips while the Senate sits on a relief plan.

The fields are almost ready, and so are the plants. But farmers in flood-damaged areas are about to run into a financial speed bump.

Monday morning,Farm Service Agencyoffices will lose more than 200 temporary employees responsible for hurricane farm aid. They were told they would be here all summer, butthe Wilson officeis losing one third of its staff.

The timing could not be much worse for Wilson County farmer Marion Pridgen. He is preparing for this year's season, but needs to know he will be paid for last year.

Floyd took about a third of his crop, which included tobacco, sweet potatoes and cotton. Pridgen believes farmers will be reimbursed eventually, but he does not like depending on the political winds in Washington.

Senate majority leader Trent Lott is holding up the flood relief bill because, he says, too many pet projects from other lawmakers have been added to it. Senators Jesse Helms and John Edwards are asking that the bill be pushed through.