Farmers waiting for disaster assistance from government

Farmers awaiting disaster assistance from government

LEARY, GA (WALB) - Planting season is just weeks away and Southwest Georgia Farmers are growing impatient with the federal government when it comes to receiving disaster funds after Hurricane Michael.

The government shutdown put farmers back at least a month from receiving federal assistance.

Though disaster funding has been introduced several times, the final piece of legislation hasn't reached the president's desk.

Which puts thousands of farmers in the waiting game.

The billion dollar industry that supports many Southwest Georgia communities is waiting on assistance from the government to get back on track after Hurricane Michael devastated its crops.

“The biggest problem I think is the wheels of government move so slow,” said Jimmy Webb, a farmer who like many others is anxious to see what type of assistance he can receive from the federal government.

Though everyone's case is different, Hurricane Michael did more damage than many can imagine.

“Some people have crop insurance, some people don’t and we hope a disaster package would help,” said Webb.

We reached out to the Georgia Cotton Commission, who has already released a statement saying they need Washington to move faster.

“Many of them will not be able to get those loans without the stability provided by at least an announcement of some disaster funding coming,” said Taylor Sills, the Director of Public Affairs with the Cotton Commission.

Sills said more than $600 million was taken out of the state’s economy because of this storm.

“That’s what stimulates the economy in a lot of these small towns and if our farmers are going out of business or they are having to lay employees off that’s bad,” said Sills.

Webb said farmers are about three weeks out from starting to plant in their crops, so time is of the essence.

“Whatever happens it needs to be done quickly. It’s a tough time right now with producers trying to get operating money get banks satisfied so they can farm another year,” said Webb.

Both Webb and Sills said they are pleased with the work from the state representatives, but now it’s about getting the president to sign the bill for a disaster package, which they hope happens in upcoming weeks.

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