Jun 28, 2023
Georgia, Southeast counties named disaster areas after March freeze

The United States Department of Agriculture has declared 18 Georgia counties as primary natural disaster areas.

The disaster declaration follows March freezes that damaged Georgia’s peach and pecan crops and other crops.

USDA FSAGrowers in North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee are also eligible for disaster relief, according to a news release.

On June 26, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack issued a natural disaster declaration for numerous Georgia counties and counties in South Carolina, North Carolina and Tennessee following the untimely March freezes that caused significant damage to Georgia’s peach crop as well as other commodities.

The declaration allows USDA’s Farm Service Agency to extend essential emergency credit to Georgia farmers.

“I’m grateful to USDA Secretary Vilsack for recognizing the importance of delivering much-needed relief to Georgia farmers following the untimely freezes in March,” Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Tyler Harper said in a news release. “Since the freeze, we’ve worked with our farmers and producers to ensure USDA clearly understood the severity of the situation and the needs of those impacted by the freeze. Georgia peaches are a symbol of the success of our state’s number one industry, and this much-needed relief will help farmers and producers across the state bounce back better than before.”

USDA FSA loans can be used to meet a variety of recovery requirements including replacing essential items such as farm equipment or livestock, reorganization of a farming operation, or to refinance specific loans. FSA reviews all loans based on the extent of losses, security available, and repayment ability.

Primary Georgia counties eligible: Banks, Crawford, Fannin, Gilmer, Habersham, Hall, Jackson, Johnson, Macon, Madison, Meriwether, Monroe, Peach, Pike, Taylor, Towns, Union, Upson

These contiguous counties are also eligible: Barrow, Bibb, Butts, Clarke, Coweta, Dawson, Dooly, Elbert, Emanuel, Forsyth, Franklin, Gordon, Gwinnett, Harris, Hart, Houston, Jasper, Jefferson, Jones, Lamar, Laurens, Lumpkin, Marion, Murray, Oconee, Oglethorpe, Pickens, Rabun, Schley, Spalding, Stephens, Sumter, Talbot, Treutlen, Troup, Washington, White, and Wilkinson.

In North Carolina, Cherokee and Clay counties. In South Carolina, Oconee County and in Tennessee, Polk County.

The application deadline is Feb. 26.

The declaration follows a months’ long lobbying effort on behalf of Georgia farmers and producers by Agriculture Commissioner Harper, the Georgia Agribusiness Council, the Georgia Farm Bureau, the Georgia Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association as well as others.

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