State leaders for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced another signup for Georgia’s farmers, ranchers and forestland owners who suffered damage to working lands due to Hurricane Michael but were not eligible for previous signups.
State Executive Director Tas Smith, for the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA), and State Conservationist Terrance O. Rudolph, for the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), have had ongoing discussions with producers as well as leaders on the state and federal level to ensure all available USDA resources were being utilized. As a result of today’s announcement, in addition to previous Hurricane Michael-related signups, producers in this eligible region will also be able to seek assistance for the USDA programs that are right for them. However, to be considered for this funding cycle, producers must apply in person at their local USDA Service Center by April 19, 2019.
“Georgia FSA is pleased to partner with NRCS on this announcement to assist the numerous producers who suffered center pivot irrigation system damage from Hurricane Michael,” said Smith.
The Emergency Conservation Program (ECP), administered by FSA, helps farmers and ranchers to repair damage to farmlands caused by natural disasters. In this case, ECP will help producers remove their damaged or destroyed center pivot irrigation systems.
Smith added, “As farmers across this state continue to recover from the devastation of this disaster, we are hopeful this assistance will play a small role in the recovery and supporting preparation efforts for the upcoming planting season.”
While not a true disaster or emergency program, the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), administered by NRCS, helps producers address natural resource concerns that can result on their own or after a disaster such as Michael. In this case, EQIP will help producers retrofit their center pivot irrigation systems to be more efficient and replace damaged micro-irrigation systems in orchards. Additionally, EQIP will help non-industrial forestland owners with debris removal, site preparation, tree planting and prescribed burning.
“Director Smith and I know our customers are still hurting, and we’ve been working together on the local, state and federal level, to make sure we can help everyone that we can,” said Rudolph. “We are honored to serve our customers and admire their perseverance after what they’ve been through.”
Agricultural producers and non-industrial forestland owners in 48 counties (Baker, Ben Hill, Berrien, Bibb, Bleckley, Brooks, Burke, Calhoun, Clay, Colquitt, Cook, Crawford, Crisp, Decatur, Dodge, Dooly, Dougherty, Early, Emanuel, Grady, Houston, Irwin, Jenkins, Laurens, Lee, Macon, Miller, Mitchell, Montgomery, Peach, Pulaski, Quitman, Randolph, Schley, Seminole, Stewart, Sumter, Taylor, Terrell, Thomas, Tift, Toombs, Turner, Twiggs, Washington, Webster, Wilcox and Worth) are eligible to apply, however this does not apply to local governments or other entities.
If you have any questions about this signup or about your application status under a previous signup, you are encouraged to call or visit your local USDA Service Center.
For more information on the different types of disaster assistance available from USDA, visit www.farmers.gov/recover.
Source: USDA NRCS Georgia