Farmers in affected counties in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina and Texas can begin signing up for USDA's 2005 hurricane disaster assistance programs at USDA Service Centers May 17.

The aid will be provided through four crop and livestock assistance programs funded by $250 million in Section 32 funds that were authorized immediately following the storms, which occurred in July, August and September of last year, Agriculture Mike Johanns said.

To be eligible for the aid, producers must have incurred losses in one of the 261 counties that received a presidential or secretarial disaster declaration designation due to Hurricanes Dennis, Katrina, Ophelia, Rita or Wilma. A list of the eligible counties can be found at http://www.usda.gov/HurricaneInfo.xml.

For more information, farmers should contact their county USDA Service Center or log on to http://usda.gov/HurricaneInfo.xml.