The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated 92 counties in Georgia as primary natural disaster areas due to damages and losses caused by the recent drought.
The counties are: Baker, Baldwin, Bartow, Bibb, Bleckley, Burke, Butts, Calhoun, Carroll, Chattahoochee, Cherokee, Clay, Clayton, Cobb, Columbia, Coweta, Crawford, Crisp, Dawson, Decatur, De Kalb, Dodge, Dooly, Dougherty, Douglas, Early, Elbert, Fannin, Fayette, Forsyth, Fulton, Gilmer, Glascock, Grady, Greene, Hancock, Haralson, Harris, Heard, Henry, Houston, Jasper, Jefferson, Johnson, Jones, Lamar, Laurens, Lee, Lincoln, Lumpkin, McDuffie, Macon, Marion, Meriwether, Mitchell, Monroe, Morgan, Muscogee, Newton, Oconee, Oglethorpe, Paulding, Peach, Pickens, Pike, Polk, Pulaski, Putnam, Quitman, Randolph, Richmond, Rockdale, Schley, Spalding, Stewart, Sumter, Talbot, Taliaferro, Taylor, Terrell, Thomas, Troup, Twiggs, Union, Upson, Walton, Warren, Washington, Webster, Wilcox, Wilkes, and Wilkinson
"Our hearts go out to those Georgia farmers and ranchers affected by recent natural disasters," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
Farmers and ranchers in the following counties in Georgia also qualify for natural disaster assistance because their counties are contiguous.
Those counties are: Barrow, Ben Hill, Brooks, Clarke, Colquitt, Emanuel, Floyd, Gordon, Gwinnett, Hall, Hart, Jenkins, Madison, Miller, Murray, Screven, Seminole, Telfair, Towns, Treutlen, Turner, Wheeler, White, and Worth
All counties listed above were designated natural disaster areas Jan. 9, 2013, making all qualified farm operators in the designated areas 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.
FSA will consider each loan application on its own merits, taking into account the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability.
FSA has a variety of programs, in addition to the EM loan program, to help eligible farmers recover from adversity.
More information is available at http://www.gfb.org/.