MACON, Ga. — On July 7 the USDA designated 10 Georgia counties as primary natural disaster areas. Producers who suffered losses due to recent natural disasters may be eligible for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) emergency loans.
This natural disaster designation allows FSA to extend much-needed emergency credit to producers recovering from natural disasters. 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 the refinance of certain debts.
Producers in Wilcox County who suffered losses due to excessive rain that occurred March 1 – April 30, may be eligible for emergency loans. Producers in the contiguous Georgia counties of Ben Hill, Crisp, Dodge, Dooly, Pulaski, Telfair, and Turner, are also eligible to apply for emergency loans.
Producers in Clinch and Lanier counties who suffered losses due to a tornado, rain, wind and hail that occurred on April 8, may be eligible for emergency loans. Producers in the contiguous Georgia counties of Atkinson, Berrien, Echols, Lowndes, and Ware are also eligible to apply for emergency loans.
Producers in Towns County who suffered losses due to a freeze that occurred on April 16 may be eligible for emergency loans. Producers in the contiguous Georgia counties of Habersham, Rabun, Union and White are also eligible to apply for emergency loans.
Producers in Atkinson, Brantley, Clinch, Coffee, Lanier, and Ware counties who suffered losses due to a tornado, rain, wind and hail that occurred on April 23, 2020, may be eligible for emergency loans. Producers in the contiguous Georgia counties of Bacon, Ben Hill, Berrien, Camden, Charlton, Echols, Glynn, Irwin, Jeff Davis, Lowndes, Pierce, Telfair, and Wayne are also eligible to apply for emergency loans.
The deadline to apply for these emergency loans is Feb. 25, 2021.
FSA will review the loans based on the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability.
Due to April storms, Burke, Murray, Upson and Washington counties requested and received approval to implement the USDA FSA Emergency Forest Restoration Program (EFRP), according to Dianne Westmoreland, Georgia FSA acting state executive director/administrative office. EFRP is a cost-share program that provides assistance to remove down or damaged trees and replant destroyed tree cover on non-industrial private forestland. Private landowners who suffered damage to forest/timber acreage in these counties should contact their local FSA office to apply.
FSA has a variety of additional programs to help farmers recover from the impacts of this disaster. FSA programs that do not require a disaster declaration include: Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program; Emergency Conservation Program; Livestock Forage Disaster Program; Livestock Indemnity Program; Operating and Farm Ownership Loans; and the Tree Assistance Program.
Farmers may contact their local USDA service center for further information on eligibility requirements and application procedures for these and other programs. Additional information is also available online at www.farmers.gov/recover.
–Georgia Farm Bureau