WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated 79 counties in Georgia as primary natural disaster areas because of damages and losses caused by excessive rain that began April 1. Another 48 counties, including Hall, are also included in the declaration because of their proximity to the others.
Rainfall for the year is running well above normal for the year in most of Georgia following an unusually wet summer. In Hall County, for instance, rainfall recorded at Lee Gilmer Memorial Airport has totaled 43.75 inches since April 1. That's 18.97 inches above average for that period.
USDA says the 79 counties in Georgia designated as primary counties for the federal assistance are:
Appling Clinch Grady Macon Telfair
Atkinson Coffee Greene Madison Thomas
Bacon Colquitt Gwinnett Miller Tift
Baker Cook Hancock Mitchell Towns
Baldwin Crawford Hart Montgomery Treutlen
Banks Crisp Irwin Morgan Turner
Barrow Decatur Jackson Newton Twiggs
Ben Hill De Kalb Jasper Oconee Union
Berrien Echols Jeff Davis Oglethorpe Walton
Bleckley Effingham Jefferson Peach Ware
Brantley Elbert Jenkins Pierce Washington
Brooks Emanuel Johnson Putnam Wayne
Bryan Fannin Jones Rockdale Wheeler
Burke Franklin Lanier Screven Wilcox
Chatham Gilmer Laurens Seminole Wilkinson
Clarke Glascock Lowndes Taylor
"Our hearts go out to those Georgia farmers and ranchers affected by recent
natural disasters," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "President Obama and I are committed to ensuring that agriculture remains a bright spot in our nation's economy by sustaining the successes of America's farmers, ranchers and rural communities through these difficult times. We're also telling Georgia producers that USDA stands with you and your communities when severe weather and natural disasters threaten to disrupt your livelihood."
Farmers and ranchers in the following counties in Georgia also qualify for natural disaster assistance because their counties are contiguous:
Bibb Dooly Henry Monroe Talbot
Bulloch Dougherty Houston Murray Taliaferro
Butts Early Lee Pickens Tattnall
Calhoun Evans Liberty Pulaski Toombs
Camden Forsyth Lincoln Rabun Upson
Candler Fulton Long Richmond Warren
Charlton Glynn Lumpkin Schley White
Clayton Gordon McDuffie Stephens Wilkes
Dawson Habersham McIntosh Sumter Worth
Dodge Hall Marion
All qualified farm operators in the designated areas are eligible for low interest emergency (EM) loans from USDA's Farm Service Agency (FSA), provided eligibility requirements are met. Farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of the declaration to apply for loans to help cover part of their actual losses.
For more information, click on the link below.