ATLANTA - Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Tommy Irvin announced today that farmers in 116 counties will be eligible to apply for low-interest emergency loans to help with losses suffered last month during Hurricane Frances.
U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman approved the disaster status for the affected areas, which includes much of the region in and around Augusta and Athens.
Ms. Veneman's declaration lists 83 counties as primary natural disaster areas and 33 counties as contiguous - or bordering - disaster areas.
Among the counties named as primary natural disaster areas are Burke, Glascock, Greene, Hancock, Jefferson, Jenkins, Taliaferro and Washington.
The list of contiguous disaster counties includes McDuffie, Oconee, Oglethorpe, Richmond, Screven, Warren and Wilkes.
Disaster designations were assigned for incurring a loss of 30 percent or more in dollar value for all crops, or a 30 percent or more loss of a single crop or group of crops, such as all fruit crops or all feed crops.
Farmers in both primary disaster counties and contiguous counties are eligible to apply for the low-interest loans.
Applications will be handled by local Farm Service Agency offices, which will provide further information on completing the loan forms.