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Feds Declare Drought Disaster; North Florida Farmers Can Apply For Emergency Loans

Four counties in Florida border the region designated as a natural disaster area.
Bert Kauffmann

There may have been flash flood warnings earlier this week, but during the summer it was dry.  Too dry, in fact, according to the federal government. 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has designated six South Georgia counties natural disaster areas after drought conditions this summer.  The move can benefit farmers in adjacent counties, too, including four in Florida. 

Jackson County Farm Bureau official Doug Mayo says it’s important to recognize that for farmers, the weather conditions months ago have implications today.

“It’s not like it’s a desert,” Mayo says, “and we’ve certainly gotten some rain since then. The key is that right at a peak time of reproduction for plants, when it’s flowering, making peanuts, making cotton, there was no – the plants were under drought stress.”

With the disaster designation, farmers in the affected region – fourteen counties in Georgia and four more in Florida – are able to apply for emergency loans from the Farm Service Agency.  The Florida counties are Gadsden, Jackson, Jefferson and Leon.