Thu., September 8, 2011 3:34pm (EDT)

Drought Prompts Disaster Status
By Associated Press
Updated: 3 years ago

ATLANTA  —  
159 Georgia counties are now federal disaster areas.  News of the declaration came today from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. (Photo by: The Suss-Man (Mike) via Flickr)
159 Georgia counties are now federal disaster areas. News of the declaration came today from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. (Photo by: The Suss-Man (Mike) via Flickr)
Nearly all of Georgia has been designated a federal agriculture disaster area due to the ongoing drought and excessive heat.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said that 150 of Georgia's 159 counties suffered crop production losses great enough to warrant the disaster designation, which allows them to apply for emergency loans and other benefits.

The request to federal officials had been made by Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, who said he hoped the available aid would relieve some of the burden the drought had imposed on the state's No. 1 industry.

U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss also applauded the designation and encouraged producers to check with their local Farm Service Agency office regarding eligibility.

Additional information can be found at www.fsa.usda.gov or www.fema.gov.