• President Trump signs bill approving disaster aid for farmers in south Georgia

    By: Aaron Diamant

    Updated:

    ATLANTA - President Donald Trump has signed a $19.1 billion disaster aid bill aimed at helping communities across the country bounce back from hurricanes, floods, tornadoes and fires.

    Trump tweeted a photo of himself holding the signed bill in what appeared to be his office aboard Air Force One.

    [PHOTOS: Damage to Georgia agriculture from Hurricane Michael]

    Trump says the aid, which will benefit states including Georgia and Florida, is: "So important for our GREAT American farmers and ranchers."

    The move comes as a sigh of relief from Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black.

    “We’re glad that this is finally done,” Black told Channel 2 investigative reporter Aaron Diamant. “We’re not knocked out, but we’re certainly knocked down, and our farm families are rising again.”

    [READ: 6 months after Hurricane Michael, Congress deadlocked on aid]

    Months of political wrangling by Congress left many south and southwest Georgia farmers, devastated by Hurricane Michael and other disasters, languishing in limbo.

    But with the president’s signature, that could soon turn around. 

    [READ: President Trump tours parts of Georgia hit hardest by Hurricane Michael]

    “This is a good day for Georgia. It’s a good day for America, and we’re doing the right thing standing with the farm families of the state,” Black said. 

    The $19 billion deal sets aside $3 billion for farmers. But so far, no word how much of that Georgia will see. We also don’t know the specific mechanisms the feds will put in place to get it here.

    Diamant also spoke with Gov. Brian Kemp, who was also happy the disaster relief was finally on its way.

    [READ: Farmers still waiting for federal assistance 7 months after Hurricane Michael]

    “I just want to encourage as we move into the funds being appropriated for the federal government and the powers that be to have as much flexibility as possible,” Kemp said. 

    The governor told Diamant he’d like to see the money flow through a combination of grants, direct payments and low interest loans.

    [READ: Neighbors come together to get supplies to Hurricane Michael victims]

    “We have a good plan and the commissioner has a good plan and that plan has been utilized already. It works. It works quickly,” Kemp said.

    Georgia’s U.S. senators issued a joint statement Thursday praising the move. 

    [READ: Month after Hurricane Michael, Georgia's hardest hit areas still recovering]

    "Finally, Americans who were ravaged by historic floods, wildfires, and hurricanes across 12 states have certainty for the immediate future," Sen. David Perdue said. 

    “I am hopeful that this aid will be expedited to reach those who need it quickly so that Georgians can get the relief they need to rebuild their lives and livelihoods,” said Sen. Johnny Isakson. 

    The Assoicated Press contributed to this story.

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