USDA designates seven Georgia counties as natural disaster areas
On July 30, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack named seven Georgia counties as natural disaster areas for weather-related damage that occurred in March and April. The USDA is also making assistance available for producers and local municipalities recovering from losses caused by Tropical Storm Elsa in July.
This Secretarial natural disaster designation allows the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) to extend much-needed emergency credit to producers recovering from natural disasters through emergency loans. Emergency loans can be used to meet various recovery needs including the replacement of essential items such as equipment or livestock, reorganization of a farming operation or the refinance of certain debts. FSA will review the loans based on the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability.
The first triggering disaster was flash flooding from March 24 to March 31 in Gordon County, which was named the primary disaster area. Gordon County producers who sustained agricultural losses as a result of the flooding are eligible for emergency loans through the FSA. Producers in contiguous counties Bartow, Cherokee, Floyd, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens, Walker and Whitfield are also eligible.
The second triggering disaster was a freeze on April 22 in Union County, which was named the primary disaster area. Union County producers who suffered agricultural damage from the freeze are eligible for emergency loans through FSA. Producers in contiguous counties Fannin, Lumpkin, Towns and White are also eligible.
The third triggering disaster was excessive rain, hail and high winds on April 24 in Echols and Lowndes counties, which were named primary disaster areas. Producers in those counties who suffered losses from the extreme weather are eligible for emergency loans through the FSA. Producers in contiguous counties Berrien, Brooks, Clinch, Cook and Lanier are also eligible.
The fourth triggering disaster was excessive rain and high winds on April 24 in Atkinson, Coffee and Ware Counties, which were named primary disaster areas. Producers in those counties who suffered losses from the extreme weather are eligible for emergency loans through the FSA. Producers in contiguous counties Bacon, Ben Hill, Berrien, Brantley, Charlton, Clinc, Irwin, Jeff Davis, Lanier, Pierce and Telfair are also eligible.
The application deadline for emergency loans is March 16, 2022, for all four incidents.
On www.farmers.gov, the Disaster Assistance Discovery Tool, Disaster-at-a-Glance fact sheet, and Farm Loan Discovery Tool can help you determine program or loan options. To file a Notice of Loss or to ask questions about available programs, contact your local USDA Service Center.
The USDA is prepared to assist farmers, ranchers and communities recover from damages brought on by Tropical Storm Elsa. While Georgia agricultural producers are still encouraged to contact their local USDA Service Center to learn about the programs available to help them recover from crop, land, infrastructure, and livestock losses, local governments are also reminded that USDA can assist with the cost of recovery efforts like debris removal and streambank stabilization to address natural resource concerns and hazards through the Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) program. The deadline to apply for EWP assistance is Sept. 6, 2021. For more information, visit https://gfb.ag/EWP or contact State Conservation Engineer Diane Guthrie at