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USDA designates 17 Georgia counties as disaster areas due to drought

Posted on Apr 05, 2024 at 3:16 AM

On March 25, the USDA designated 17 Georgia counties as primary natural disaster areas due to severe drought conditions. The Secretarial natural disaster designation allows the Farm Service Agency (FSA) to extend much-needed emergency credit to producers recovering from natural disasters through emergency loans.

“Our agency stands committed to providing support to our agricultural producers who are recovering from natural disasters,” said Arthur Tripp, state executive director for FSA in Georgia. “Drought conditions can be devastating for many agricultural operations. Through these designations, Georgia’s farmers and ranchers will have access to the emergency credit that is critical to their recovery from severe drought conditions.”

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, the primary counties suffered from a drought intensity value during the growing season of 1) D2 Drought-Severe for more than 8 or more consecutive weeks, 2) D3 Drought-Extreme or, 3) D3 Drought-Exceptional. Producers in an additional nine contiguous Georgia counties are also eligible for disaster relief coverage. Producers in the following eligible counties will have until Nov. 25 to apply for FSA emergency assistance.

Primary counties eligible under this declaration are: Bartow, Chattooga, Cherokee, Dawson, Fannin, Floyd, Gilmer, Gordon, Habersham, Lumpkin, Murray, Pickens, Rabun, Towns, Union, White and Whitfield.  Contiguous counties also eligible are: Banks, Catoosa, Cobb, Forsyth, Fulton, Hall, Paulding, Polk, Stephens, Walker, Columbia, Elbert, Franklin, Hart, Lincoln, Dade, Carroll and Haralson.

FSA emergency loans allow producers to borrow up to 100 percent of actual production or physical losses, up to a maximum amount of $500,000. These loans assist producers in meeting their various recovery needs, including the payment of essential family living expenses, reorganization of a farming operation, or to refinance certain debts. FSA considers each emergency loan application on its own merits, considering the extent of losses, security available, and repayment ability.

For more information about FSA’s disaster recovery options, producers can visit, where the Disaster Assistance Discovery Tool, Disaster Assistance-at-a-Glance fact sheet, and Loan Assistance Tool can help you determine program or loan options. Producers can also contact their local USDA Service Center to file a Notice of Loss and learn more about programs fitting their operational needs.

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