WASHINGTON -- Farmers across the South - including many in Georgia - are finally beginning the recovery process as the wind and rain of two major hurricanes begins to clear.
Now, a new announcement from Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue may at least make the difficult process a little bit easier. The former Georgia governor said Wednesday that he would be putting special procedures into place to assist farmers who lost crops and livestock - or took other damage to their farms - during hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
“The impact is shocking and will be felt for many months,” said Secretary Perdue. “In addition to efforts being made on the ground to assist producers, we have taken a hard look at our regular reporting requirements and adjusted them so producers can take care of pressing needs first and mostly deal with documentation and claims later."
Perdue added that President Donald Trump's directive is to "help people first and deal with paperwork second."
PHOTOS: Aerial view of Irma damage in metro Atlanta
As part of the process, the USDA is providing additional flexibility to assist farm loan borrowers by way of 60-day extensions. Those impacted by the hurricane who have received primary loan servicing applications may be eligible for the extension and can find more details at this special USDA website.
A more detailed list of special farm program provisions can be found here.
In addition, the deadlines to file a loss for the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) and the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees and Farm-Raised Fish (ELAP) have been extended and special provisions are provided for “acceptable proof of livestock death and inventory for livestock losses.”
Producers with coverage through USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) administered federal crop insurance program should contact their crop insurance agent for issues regarding filing claims.
The USDA is encouraging all farmers and ranchers to contact their crop insurance agents and their local FSA office, as applicable, to report damages to crops or livestock loss.
Additional resources are also available at USDA.gov/Disaster.