Georgia farmers getting help staying afloat amid weather, lost crops

Many farmers in Georgia have been looking for help amid growing money, weather, and other issues.
Published: Jul. 10, 2023 at 6:46 PM CDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - The Georgia federal government has stepped in to help keep farms afloat amid growing money, weather, and other issues. However, some people said that won’t solve everything.

The peach crop took a big hit this year. Experts estimate 90% of the crop was lost due to a freeze in March. People still say the remaining peaches taste great.

“It just melts on your tongue, super sweet and super-rich,” said Kamberly Hanson. “I now understand the hype of Georgia peaches.”

Drew Echols at Jaemor Farms warns that the peaches they have left are more expensive. Georgia peach prices are higher to offset the loss.

“Weather is inevitable. My grandad lost three crops in a row in the 1980s, and he almost lost the farm,” Echols said.

RELATED: 3 weeks late but right on time, Georgia farmers prep for peach season

The state estimates the peach crop in Georgia is estimated at $85 million. If we are down to just 10% of the remaining crops, that’s roughly $75 million that farmers planned to collect.

The USDA has designated 18 different counties in Georgia as natural disaster areas which allows them to apply for loans to offset the loss. The application deadline has been set for February 26, 2024. Eligible Georgia counties include Banks, Crawford, Fannin, Gilmer, Habersham, Hall, Jackson, Johnson, Macon, Madison, Meriwether, Monroe, Peach, Pike, Taylor, Towns, Union, and Upson.

Agriculture Commissioner Tyler Harper said that Georgia farmers are already getting 20% less money than they were ten years ago. Harper points to inflation and labor costs. Bad crop years could also drive families away from this important industry.

“Agriculture is the number one business in our state it’s the backbone of our economy,” said Harper.

Echols said the loan money will help farmers, but the best thing you can do is to buy local produce in the grocery store by looking for the ‘Georgia Grown’ logo.