Nearly all counties in Georgia, including Liberty and Long, have been declared an agricultural disaster area due to ongoing drought and excessive heat.
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack determined last week that 150 Georgia counties suffered production losses great enough to warrant a secretarial natural disaster designation.
Producers in the designated counties are now eligible to be considered for Farm Service Agency emergency loans and the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Program, which was approved as part of the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008.
“I am grateful for Secretary Vilsack’s timely response on this important request for our state,” Gov. Nathan Deal said.
“With this designation, farmers and their businesses will qualify for much-needed relief.
“It is my hope that this aid will relieve some of the burden this drought has caused the No. 1 industry in our state.”
The designation was made following a letter from Deal to Vilsack seeking aid for the drought conditions.
“This is good news for farmers in our state,” said U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee.
“Our producers battle severe weather conditions year after year, and this designation will help ensure that they can recover from the severe drought conditions.
“The disaster designation is the first step in that recovery process, and I appreciate Gov. Deal’s hard work on this issue.”
The state’s other nine counties have been named contiguous disaster counties and also qualify for some aid.
Farmers have eight months to apply for emergency loan assistance. FSA will consider each application on its own merit by taking into account the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability.
For more information, visit http://disaster.fsa.usda.gov.