Gov. Nathan Deal has sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack requesting that 22 Georgia counties, including Effingham County, be declared disaster areas in response to Georgia’s ongoing drought. Deal expressed that the drought, beginning in December 2010, has caused extensive damage to crops. With the disaster designation, farmers in those counties would become eligible to apply for emergency loans and other benefits provided by the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008.
“During these tough times, farmers are also bearing the extra burden of a drought,” said Gov. Deal. “Agriculture is vital to our state’s economic health and prosperity and it is our hope that these farmers and their families receive relief in a timely manner.”
In his letter, Deal noted that the USDA State Emergency Board has reviewed loss adjustment reports prepared by the affected counties. They confirmed the losses and recommended the disaster designation also be requested for the following counties: Appling, Atkinson, Bacon, Ben Hill, Brantley, Brooks, Bryan, Chatham, Coffee, Colquitt, Cook, Dodge, Irwin, Jeff Davis, Lanier, Lowndes, Pierce, Telfair, Thomas, Wayne and Wheeler.