MOULTRIE, Ga. - Southwest Georgia farmers are still waiting for federal disaster assistance seven months after Hurricane Michael ripped through the area causing one of the state’s most devastating agriculture catastrophes.
“It’s time to get up some money,” said longtime farmer and Mitchell County resident Jimmy Hardin. “The government promised they were going to help, and they need some help.”
A $3 billion disaster relief package for South Georgia, along with aid for other disaster-stricken states, has been stalled for months in Congress as Democrats and Republicans argue over the size of the package and whether Puerto Rico should be included.
That island continues to recover after it was hit by Hurricane Maria in September 2017.
In the meantime, South Georgia farmers and growers continue to struggle and are hoping banks will stay patient as they work out financing for another planting season.
“We have local banks, and they’ve been patient with us,” said Lanier Worsham Jr. of Worsham Farms in Camilla. “They’ve worked with farmers to get their financing for the spring planting. The banks have worked with us generously, but it’s all in anticipation of money coming in.”
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Georgia’s congressional delegation, both Democrats and Republicans, have been pushing to get the package through Congress, but so far, they have faced more delays.
Hardin applied and was approved for federal aid after the storm destroyed 64 of his pecan trees, however, he continues to wait. He wonders if other farmers will be able to wait.
“It’s the best life in the world, if you can survive,” Hardin said. “And that’s all I got to say.”
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