More than half of U.S. counties now are classified by the federal government as natural disaster areas mostly because of the drought. The U.S. Agriculture Department on Wednesday added 218 counties in a dozen states as disaster areas, including six in Georgia.
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.
Federal agriculture officials have declared 22 Georgia counties disaster areas due to drought conditions that have left crops parched. Deal on Monday said the designation means that farmers and their businesses will qualify for much-needed federal relief.