MACON, Ga. — On Nov. 21, the USDA announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) had issued a presidential disaster declaration for Burke, Montgomery, Toombs and Treutlen counties due to damage sustained from Hurricane Idalia. Producers in contiguous Appling, Candler, Emanuel, Jeff Davis, Jefferson, Jenkins, Johnson, Laurens, Richmond, Screven, Tattnall and Wheeler counties, as well as producers in Aiken, Allendale and Barnwell counties in South Carolina, are eligible for assistance under this declaration. In a second presidential declaration that FEMA issued, also announced by USDA on Nov. 21, Johnson and Worth counties were named as contiguous counties.
This presidential declaration allows the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) to extend much-needed emergency credit to producers recovering from natural disasters through emergency loans. Emergency loans can be used to meet various recovery needs including the replacement of essential items such as equipment or livestock, reorganization of a farming operation, or to refinance certain debts. FSA will review the loans based on the extent of losses, security available, and repayment ability.
Additionally, this specific presidential disaster declaration for Georgia counties affected by Hurricane Idalia is classified as a “Major Disaster Declaration,” Major Disaster Declarations through FEMA provide Individual Assistance, Public Assistance, and Hazard Mitigation Assistance to both primary and contiguous counties. Individual assistance provides things like crisis counseling and disaster unemployment assistance to affected communities, while public assistance provides funds for debris removal, infrastructure repairs, and more.
The application deadline under this declaration is June 3, 2024.
Producers with operations in the contiguous and primary counties from the presidential and secretarial designations should contact their local FSA Farm Loan office to confirm the deadline for applying for our emergency loans.
For more information about FSA’s full site of disaster recovery options, producers can visit farmers.gov, where the Disaster Assistance Discovery Tool, Disaster Assistance-at-a-Glance fact sheet, and Loan Assistance Tool can help determine program or loan options.
Emergency Relief Program 2022
The USDA recently announced that it will provide more than $3 billion to commodity and specialty crop producers impacted by natural disaster events in 2022. Eligible impacted producers can apply for financial assistance through the Emergency Relief Program (ERP) 2022. The program will help offset the financial impacts of crop yield and value losses from qualifying disasters occurring in 2022.
The application opened on Oct. 31, 2023. The application deadline has not yet been determined and will be announced at a later date. More information on ERP 2022 eligibility details is available on the emergency relief website.
Livestock Forage Disaster Program Eligibility
The USDA Farm Service Agency is now accepting applications for the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) to provide financial assistance to eligible producers for 2023 grazing losses due to a qualifying drought. The deadline to apply is January 30, 2024.
To date, twenty-four Georgia counties have met the drought severity levels that triggers LFP eligibility for the 2023 program year. Habersham, Rabun, Towns, and White counties were announced as eligible for the program on Nov. 28. Previously announced eligible counties are Bartow, Catoosa, Chattooga, Cherokee, Dade, Dawson, Decatur, Early, Fannin, Floyd, Gilmer, Gordon, Lumpkin, Miller, Murray, Pickens, Seminole, Union, Walker, and Whitfield.
For LFP, qualifying drought triggers are determined using the U.S. Drought Monitor. LFP provides compensation to eligible livestock producers who have suffered grazing losses for covered livestock and who are also producers of grazed forage crop acreage of native and improved pastureland with permanent vegetative cover or acreage planted specifically for grazing. Grazing losses must occur on land physically located in a county experiencing a qualifying drought during the normal grazing period for the county.
Eligible livestock include alpacas, beef cattle, buffalo/bison, beefalo, dairy cattle, deer, elk, emus, equine, goats, llamas, ostrich, reindeer, or sheep that have been or would have been grazing the eligible grazing land or pastureland during the normal grazing period.
–Georgia Farm Bureau