Atlanta, GA - Yesterday evening, in response to Governor Brian P. Kemp’s request, President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. approved a disaster declaration allowing Georgians in Cook, Glynn, and Lowndes Counties access to emergency relief funds following the significant damage caused by Hurricane Idalia on August 30, 2023. As damage assessments continue in other areas affected by the storm, Commissioner Harper and the Georgia Department of Agriculture will continue to work with federal, state, and local leaders to push for an expanded disaster declaration for all impacted counties.
“Supporting Georgia agriculture is not about politics - it’s about doing the right thing on behalf of Georgia’s farmers and farm families, and while this declaration is a welcome first-step, we remain committed to ensuring it’s expanded to include all impacted counties,” said Agriculture Commissioner Tyler Harper. “I’m grateful that President Biden and his Administration moved swiftly to approve Governor Kemp’s request for a disaster declaration and look forward to continuing our work alongside federal, state, and local leaders to expand the declaration to all counties impacted by Idalia."
Cook, Glynn, and Lowndes Counties are home to over 650 agricultural operations farming more than 140,000 acres with a farm-gate value of over $120 million. Additionally, The Georgia Department of Agriculture licenses and regulates 1,858 entities across Cook, Glynn, and Lowndes Counties. These entities include livestock and poultry operations, retail grocery stores, meat processing facilities, gas stations, animal shelters, and others. This declaration allows farmers, small-business owners, and other GDA regulated entities to apply for emergency disaster relief.
Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of Hurricane Idalia.
Federal funding is also available to state and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for debris removal and emergency protective measures in Cook, Glynn, and Lowndes counties. Lastly, Federal funding is available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.
Residents and business owners who sustained losses in the designated areas can begin applying for assistance at www.DisasterAssistance.gov, by calling 800-621-FEMA (3362), or by using the FEMA App. Anyone using a relay service, such as video relay service (VRS), captioned telephone service, or others, can give FEMA the number for that service.###