(GDAC/Atlanta, GA/Nov. 8, 2023) — U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary (USDA) Tom Vilsack has issued a disaster declaration for 27 Georgia counties due to damage and losses caused by Hurricane Idalia on August 30, 2023. This declaration allows farmers, producers, and other eligible agricultural operations to apply for emergency disaster relief through the Farm Service Agency.
“Hurricane Idalia caused significant damage to agricultural operations across South Central and Southeast Georgia, and I am glad to see that USDA has expanded their initial disaster declaration to include these additional counties,” said Agriculture Commissioner Tyler Harper. “Our team at the Georgia Department of Agriculture will continue our work alongside federal, state, and local leaders to assist our communities as they rebuild and rebound stronger than before.”
These 27 counties are home to over 7,800 agricultural operations farming more than 2,300,000 acres with a farm-gate value of over $3,500,000,000. The Georgia Department of Agriculture licenses and regulates approximately 6,700 entities across these counties including livestock and poultry operations, retail grocery stores, meat processing facilities, gas stations, animal shelters, and others. The total economic loss caused by Hurricane Idalia is still being calculated by the Farm Service Agency and UGA Extension.
Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of Hurricane Idalia.
Federal funding is also available to state and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for debris removal and emergency protective measures in these counties. Lastly, Federal funding is available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.
Primary Counties: Appling, Atkinson, Bacon, Ben Hill, Berrien, Brantley, Brooks, Bulloch, Candler, Clinch, Coffee, Cook, Echols, Evans, Irwin, Jeff Davis, Lanier, Lowndes, Montgomery, Pierce, Tattnall, Telfair, Thomas, Toombs, Ware, Wayne, Wheeler
Contiguous Counties: Bryan, Camden, Charlton, Colquitt, Dodge, Effingham, Emanuel, Glynn, Grady, Jenkins, Laurens, Liberty, Long, McIntosh, Mitchell, Screven, Tift, Treutlen, Turner, Wilcox
Residents and business owners who sustained losses in the designated areas can begin applying for assistance at www.DisasterAssistance.gov, by calling 800-621-FEMA (3362), or by using the FEMA App. Anyone using a relay service, such as video relay service (VRS), captioned telephone service, or others, can give FEMA the number for that service.