USDA Designates Coffee as Natural Disaster Area
On Wednesday, December 17, 2018, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue designated Coffee County, along with 75 other counties in the state of Georgia, as a primary natural disaster area. This designation will allow producers who suffered losses from Hurricane Michael the chance to apply for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) emergency loans.
These loans will be used to meet various recovery needs, such as the replacement of equipment or livestock, reorganization of a farming operation or the refinance of specific debts.
Earlier this year, the Georgia Forestry Commission announced there was damage to more than two million acres of forestland, resulting in a $374 million total loss. Georgia Forestry Commission Director Chuck Williams also stated that about 79,000 acres of forest in our state are a complete loss with the most severe damage documented in the southwest counties where the storm entered the state.
Once the loan is applied for, FSA will review all of the applications based on the losses, security available, and the repayment ability.
Other counties in the primary damaged area include: Appling, Atkinson, Bacon, Baker, Ben Hill Berrien, Bibb, Bleckley, Brantley, Brooks, Bulloch, Burke, Calhoun, Candler, Charlton, Clay, Clinch, Colquitt, Cook, Crawford, Crisp, Decatur, Dodge, Dooly, Dougherty, Early, Echols, Emanuel, Evans, Glascock, Grady, Hancock, Houston, Irwin, Jeff Davis, Jefferson, Jenkins, Johnson, Lanier, Laurens, Lee, Long, Lowndes, Macon, Miller, Mitchell, Montgomery, Peach, Pierce, Pulaski, Quitman, Randolph, Schley, Screven, Seminole, Stewart, Sumter, Tattnall, Taylor, Telfair, Terrell, Thomas, Tift, Toombs, Treutlen, Turner, Twiggs, Ware, Washington, Wayne, Webster, Wheeler, Wilcox, Wilkinson and Worth in Georgia.
Farmers can contact the local USDA service center for further information on eligibility requirements and for more information on how to apply. More information is also available online at https://www.farmers.gov/recover.