Ag News

Georgia counties receive drought disaster designations

On Oct. 31 the USDA issued a disaster declaration for a total of 54 Georgia counties to help farmers mitigate their losses due to ongoing drought conditions.

The 24 Georgia counties with the primary natural disaster designation are Banks, Bartow, Carroll, Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, Coweta, Dawson, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Forsyth, Fulton, Gilmer, Gwinnett, Habersham, Hall, Henry, Lumpkin, Paulding, Pickens, Twiggs, White, and Wilkinson.

Producers in the contiguous Georgia counties of Baldwin, Barrow, Bibb, Bleckley, Butts, Fannin, Floyd, Franklin, Gordon, Haralson, Heard, Houston, Jackson, Johnson, Jones, Laurens, Madison, Meriwether, Murray, Newton, Polk, Rabun, Rockdale, Spalding, Stephens, Towns, Troup, Union, Walton, and Washington are also eligible to apply for emergency loans. Dade County is eligible because it is contiguous to Alabama and Tennessee counties that received primary designations.

Farmers in counties named either primary disaster areas or contiguous counties are eligible for low interest emergency (EM) loans from USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), provided eligibility requirements are met. The deadline is June 24, 2020, 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.

Other FSA programs that provide assistance, but do not require a disaster declaration, include the Emergency Conservation Program, the Livestock Forage Disaster Program, the Livestock Indemnity Program, the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program, Operating and Farm Ownership Loans and the Tree Assistance Program.

Interested farmers may contact their local USDA Service Centers for more information on eligibility requirements and application procedures for these and other programs. Additional information is also available online at