Tommy Dollar was one of a handful of farmers who met with President Donald Trump when the nation’s top executive visited Georgia to survey Hurricane Michael damage.
Dollar also spearheaded an early and detailed assessment of agriculture damage caused by the storm in southwest Georgia and provided the information to policymakers, most notably Georgia State Senator Dean Burke, who used the information during a special session of the Georgia General Assembly, a session called specifically to provide resources and direction for storm recovery.
Southwest Georgia farmers, he said, have now faced back-to-back years with devastating weather events happening at the worst possible time. Hurricane Irma hit Sept. 11 last year, bringing tropical storm force winds to the area and wreaked havoc on everything from vegetables to fences to cotton to pecans. Irma was bad enough, but on a scale of 1 to 10 with Irma being a 2, Hurricane Michael was a 12, Dollar said. Michael hit everything and everybody. A new playbook is having to be written to comprehend and manage this storm’s aftermath.
In this Facebook Live video, the well-known and connected agribusinessman and farmer from Bainbridge, Ga., talks about the storm and what it did to the area (and not just what it did to agriculture), what he and others have been working on at the local, state and federal levels and the political traction and support needed now. He also talks about one lighthearted effort he and his team made to win instant millions of dollars for the region.
Last week, all 14 Members of the Georgia House Congressional Delegation sent a letter to U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, and the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Committee requesting legislative action by the December 7 government funding deadline to address recent natural disasters, including Hurricane Michael.