Severe drought conditions prompt USDA to declare 17 counties in Georgia as natural disaster areas

The severe drought conditions have led to 17 Georgia counties being declared primary natural disaster areas by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The federal agency has announced that producers in 18 counties in Georgia are now eligible for emergency relief.

According to officials, the Farm Service Agency will now be able to offer emergency loans to producers who are recovering from natural disasters, thanks to the USDA designation. This will provide much-needed financial assistance to those in need.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, the main counties eligible for relief experienced severe drought conditions (D2 Drought-Severe) for at least 8 consecutive weeks during the growing season. The drought reached extreme and exceptional levels in some areas.

The USDA has announced that producers in an additional nine counties in Georgia are now eligible for disaster relief coverage.

Producers who meet the criteria will have the opportunity to apply for FSA emergency assistance until November 25th.

The primary eligibility counties include Bartow, Chattooga, Cherokee, Dawson, Fannin, Floyd, Gilmer, Gordon, Habersham, Lumpkin, Murray, Pickens, Rabun, Towns, Union, White, and Whitfield counties.

The USDA has announced that the following counties are now eligible for assistance: Banks, Catoosa, Cobb, Forsyth, Fulton, Hall, Paulding, Polk, Stephens, Walker, Columbia, Elbert, Franklin, Hart, Lincoln, Dade, Carroll, and Haralson.

Producers who apply and are approved for FSA emergency loans will have the opportunity to receive up to 100% of the actual production or physical losses, with a maximum coverage of $500,000.

According to the USDA, each emergency loan application is evaluated by the FSA based on its individual merits. Factors such as the extent of losses, available security, and repayment ability are taken into consideration during the assessment process.

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Producers can find information about the FSA’s disaster recovery options on farmers.gov. They can utilize the Disaster Assistance Discovery Tool, Disaster Assistance-at-a-Glance fact sheet, and Loan Assistance Tool available on the website. Additionally, they have the option to contact their local USDA Service Center to file Notices of Loss.

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