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Georgia Dept. of Ag to accept block grant applications in March

The Georgia Department of Ag will begin accepting online applications for the block grant funds on March 18, 2020. With the $347 million grant funds, Georgia farmers and forest landowners who suffered losses in beef, dairy, fruit and vegetable, pecan, poultry, timber and uninsured infrastructure will need to enroll in the program starting March 18. There are 95 counties within the state eligible for block grant funding, which include Decatur and its surrounding counties.

The enrollment process will take place entirely online at farmrecovery.com. Once the application opens on March 18, eligible producers should create a farmrecovery.com account to add required information and upload documents. Applicants can save their application to finish later throughout the three-week enrollment period. All required documents must be scanned and uploaded to the online application. Mailed applications or documents will not be accepted.

Producers should begin collecting appropriate documents and information including but not limited to:

For all applications, addresses of the physical locations where damage occurred, including GPS (latitude and longitude) coordinates and itemized losses by commodity for each location are required. It is also recommended but not required to have your 2018 Property Tax Assessment handy.

If you suffered timber losses, please include 2018 Property Tax Assessment. It is recommended but not required to have an IRS 4684 casualty loss form. If you do not have this form, you may use a third-party certification of damage form. It is also recommended but not required to have a Forest Damage Assessment Property Appraisal.

If you are collecting information for beef, please include a record of conception loss: producer records for conception and breeding certified by veterinarian or third party. Mortality records are also needed; approved application for livestock indemnity program. If you do not have this form, you may provide a certification of loss by a third party or veterinarian.

Dairy losses should include conception loss: producer records for conception and breeding certified by veterinarian or third party, and mortality: approved application for livestock indemnity program. If you do not have this form, you may provide a certification of loss by a third party or veterinarian. Please include disease loss: records of documented cases of mastitis immediately before and after the storm, and milking impacts: milk production records for October & November 2017 to compare to October & November 2018.

Poultry losses should be itemized per house: square footage, the type of production, insurance payments, and the number of days without birds. The documents needed are casualty insurance receipts for destroyed and damaged houses.

If you suffered loss as a fruit and/or vegetable grower, only acres with 15% crop loss or higher are eligible for payment. If this applies to your operation, please include acres of plasticulture production damaged and acres of bare ground production damaged.  It is recommended but not required to include production and planting reports.

For pecan loss, please know total number of trees destroyed and total number of trees and acres in production. If applicable, please have a copy of application for Tree Assistance Program through USDA.

If you have uninsured infrastructure losses, please include the type of structure and associated commodity, the square footage, its value, and the cost to repair/reconstruct the infrastructure.  Please include casualty insurance receipts. For irrigation losses, please have the number of systems damaged and associated commodity, the total linear feet, the value, and the cost to repair/reconstruct.  Also include casualty insurance receipts and 2018 Property Tax Assessments.

Information for this article was gathered from the ‘Georgia Farm Recovery Block Grant Application Guide’. If you have any further questions or need additional help with the online application, please call the Decatur County Extension Office at 229-248-3033.