The USDA has given disaster declarations to 30 Georgia counties for losses sustained in unrelated weather disasters earlier this year. In southwest Georgia, Mitchell County was named a primary disaster area for hail damage sustained by tobacco, vegetable and strawberry crops in early April.
In southeast Georgia, eight additional counties — Bulloch, Emanuel, Laurens, Long, Pierce, Treutlen, Wayne and Wheeler — were designated primary disaster areas for losses caused by freezing conditions that occurred in late February. Then, in June, the USDA declared four initial counties as primary disaster areas — Evans, Montgomery, Tattnall and Toombs.
Both primary disaster areas and counties that are contiguous to primary disaster areas are eligible for low-interest, emergency loans from the Farm Service Agency. Farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the disaster declaration date to apply for loans to cover their losses.
Counties contiguous to Mitchell County that are eligible for assistance are: Baker, Colquitt, Decatur, Dougherty, Grady, Thomas and Worth counties. Contiguous counties in southeast Georgia include Appling, Bacon, Bleckley, Brantley, Bryan, Burke, Candler, Dodge, Effingham, Glynn, Jeff Davis, Jefferson, Jenkins, Johnson, Liberty, McIntosh, Screven, Telfair, Twiggs, Ware and Wilkinson.
A primary disaster declaration recognizes that most or all of a county could have been affected by a weather disaster. A contiguous county declaration recognized that the entire county may not have suffered agricultural losses. The FSA will consider each loan application on its on merits, taking into account the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability.