Under new U.S. Department of Agriculture rules announced Thursday, all but a handful of Georgia counties are considered disaster areas because of ongoing drought. The department is trying to shorten the time between a disaster and making aid available to farmers.
Between 2002 and 2007 the number of farmers age 25 and under dropped nearly 40 percent in Georgia. The cost of land, equipment, and access to credit make it difficult to get into farming. Federal officials have loan programs to help new farmers.