ADVISORY: USDA DISASTER ASSISTANCE AVAILABLE FOR FARMS IMPACTED BY HURRICANE IRMA
Nov 15, 2017
WASHINGTON, DC – Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, in accordance with Section 321(a) of the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act, sent a letter this week designating 83 counties within the State of Georgia as primary disaster areas due to the impacts of Hurricane Irma.
This primary designation includes Baker, Clay, Crawford, Crisp, Decatur, Dooly, Grady, Lee, Macon, Marion, Miller, Mitchell, Peach, Randolph, Seminole, Schley, Stewart, Sumter, Taylor, Terrell, and Webster counties within the Second Congressional District of Georgia. Additionally, Calhoun, Chattahoochee, Dougherty, Early, Quitman, Talbot counties were designated as contiguous disaster counties.
“On behalf of Middle and Southwest Georgia’s agriculture community, I am grateful that USDA has appropriately responded to our plight,” said Congressman Sanford Bishop. “Having access to programs and available resources will help our growers repair and rebuild their operations stronger following damage caused by Hurricane Irma, and will help ensure that Georgia’s agriculture industry continues to help feed the world.”
The designation as a primary or contiguous disaster area opens up eligibility for certain types of disaster loan assistance. The main disaster assistance program triggered by these designations is consideration for low-interest emergency loans. These designations also trigger access to the Disaster Set-Aside (DSA) program, which enables producers with a direct loan from the Farm Service Agency (FSA) to move one annual payment to the end of the loan if the producers are not able to make their payments on schedule.
Background on USDA’s disaster assistance programs can be found here. A copy of Secretary Perdue’s designation letter can be found here. Any determinations concerning eligibility for any USDA programs will need to be made by USDA. Farmers can find contact information for their local USDA FSA Office here.