MACON, Ga. — Starting September 11, $3 billion from the U.S. Department of Agriculture is available to farmers across the country affected by natural disasters.
In Georgia, that means people in 80 out of 159 counties are eligible to apply for the funds.
Leon Shultz and his son Matt are pecan farmers in Central Georgia.
"It ain't gonna make your year for money, but it will help," said Leon.
The two of them, along with Matt's father-in-law, are applying for that aid to help pick up the pieces after Hurricane Michael.
"I'm glad the government wants to help, but that's not… it's just not gonna be enough," Matt said.
He said they lost 60 trees during Hurricane Michael last year and they weren't the only ones who saw the effects from the storm.
Farmers all over the southeast and Georgia dealt with major damage to their crops.
"You lose that money, not just for that year, but for the next 30 to 40 years while that tree is in production. Where you think, ‘Oh, I’ve lost $1,000 from that one tree,’ it really could be $30,000 for the whole life of the tree," Matt said.
He said their extension agent told them they will get about $147 per acre and they own about 100 acres of land.
That estimate is based on the value of their crops and their level of insurance, so the amount will differ from farmer to farmer.
The aid covers natural disasters between 2018 and 2019, including hurricanes, floods, wildfires, and snowstorms.
Farmers can apply for the money online at the USDA's website or at their local USDA Service Center.
To apply for the funds, you will need:
- Proof of identity such as a driver's license or Social Security number/card.
- Copy of recorded deed, survey plat, rental or lease agreement of the land.
- Articles of incorporation, estate or trust documents for entities.
- Verifiable production records by crop, type, practice, intended use and acre.
The disaster relief package was passed by Congress and signed by President Trump in early June.
Farmers in counties that did not receive a disaster declaration or designation may still apply for the aid, but must provide documentation to prove their crops were affected by a natural disaster within the time frame.
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