Federal Aid-Good News For Georgia Farmers Affected By Hurricane Michael
Farmers in Georgia are saying ‘better late than never’ as news broke that federal aid money is on it’s way. Almost a year after Hurricane Michael devastated Georgia farmers, there is some relief in sight.
The Southwest corner of the state was the most affected by the ravishes of the hurricane. The Department of Agriculture’s Secretary Sonny Purdue announced the aid money this week. Purdue said that farmers affected by Hurricane Micheal can start submitting applications for aid.
The Secretary said that a bill signed into law earlier this summer allocated more than $3 Billion in aid money. President Trump declared 80 counties in Georgia as federal disaster areas last year. Farmers in those counties can apply for aid. Aid is also going to be given to people affected by floods, tornadoes and other natural disasters in the last two years. Purdue said that Hurricane Dorian that made landfall last week, is also included in the aid package.
Purdue Said The Assistance Will Not Allow All Farmers To Recoup All Losses But It Will Help
Secretary Purdue emphasized that the aid will not help farmers and producers to recover all of their losses. However he assured an assembly of gathered reporters, that the aid will help farmers ‘regain their bearings’. This agriculture allotment is the first section of money to be released out of a larger aid package.
The initial aid package that President Trump was able to negotiate totals $19 Billion in aid. The money was tied up due to back and forth discussions about how much money Puerto Rico will receive. The discussions were very heated at times, and took more than eight months to resolve.
Some farmers are crying foul, because a lot of the emergency money is being divvied up between dozens of federal agencies. That money will go to help fix decaying roads, bridges, damaged infrastructure, and housing nation wide. The way the payments will work depends on the farmers zip codes, the amount of losses they suffered due to a natural disaster. Other issues involved in the payments have to do with insurance money available to each applicant. The first applications for the relief money were accepted on Wednesday.
The Aid Purdue Explained This Week Does Not Include Block Grants Or Lump Sum Payouts
After the Wednesday news briefing by Secretary Purdue, there are some issues that were not addressed. There have been some block grants given out to farmers that have suffered losses, and lump sum payments.
The program Purdue explained still leaves some unanswered questions regarding those issues. Some farmers in Georgia have expressed concerns about the timing of this aid package. They said that the planting seasons is gone already, and the damages have already been written.
They also say that the exact extent of their losses won’t be known until the end of fall. It’s also unknown exactly how money of the package will go directly to Georgia farmers. Local lawmakers said on Wednesday ‘nothing is perfect, but at least the money will end up in the pockets of Georgia farmers’.