Farmers and ranchers in seven additional Georgia counties are now eligible for assistance to address damage to working lands and livestock mortality because of Hurricane Michael through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).

The southwest Georgia counties added to those eligible for this assistance are: Crisp, Grady, Lee, Mitchell, Terrell, Thomas and Worth. Including these counties, a series of special sign-ups for agricultural livestock mortality and carcass disposal is being conducted for 13 counties designated under the Individual Assistance Declaration from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The first sign-up period ends October 26, 2018. A second sign-up period will end November 16, 2018.

“I have pledged all available USDA resources to aid in response to Hurricane Michael and I know our team in Georgia is mobilizing to do just that,” U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said. “By batching these signups, we are helping those who are ready to begin the healing process as quickly as possible and allow more time for those still assessing damages.”

EQIP is provided through the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

Farmers and ranchers seeking NRCS financial and technical assistance can sign up at their local NRCS office. Conservation practices also available through EQIP can address flood and wind damage, excessive runoff that is causing hurricane-related natural resource concerns and provide protection from exceptional storm events in the future.

This assistance is available to individual farmers and ranchers to aid in recovery efforts on their properties and does not apply to local governments or other entities. Agricultural producers in Baker, Decatur, Dougherty, Early, Miller and Seminole counties may be eligible for this special sign-up.

Under these sign-ups, mortality and carcass disposal will be by burial, incineration or composting methods. NRCS recommends producers seeking assistance for any mass mortality event immediately notify the Georgia Department of Agriculture’s Animal Industry Division, if they haven’t already done so.

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