(Tallahassee, FL/October 20, 2021) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has informed Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) that it has granted a Secretarial disaster designation in several counties in Georgia and Florida due to losses caused by Tropical Storm Elsa, excessive wind, and excessive rainfall that occurred on July 7, 2021. With this designation, impacted producers in Columbia, Hamilton, and Madison counties are now eligible to apply for USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) emergency loans.
“Florida’s farmers have endured many challenges these past few seasons – from ongoing market disruptions and supply chain issues due to the pandemic, to continued unfair foreign trade practices, to extreme weather events including Tropical Storm Elsa. In the face of all of this, they continue to work hard every day to keep our families fed and our economy strong,” said Commissioner Fried. “I am thankful for USDA Secretary Vilsack and the FSA for making disaster loans available to help Florida’s producers impacted by this storm’s winds and rain recover.”
Farmers in eligible counties will have eight months from the October 18, 2021 date of the Secretarial disaster declaration to apply for this assistance through their local FSA offices. FSA considers each emergency loan application on its own merits, taking into account the extent of production losses on the farm and the security and repayment ability of the operator.