U.S. Senate’s failure to pass disaster relief package affects Southwest GA farmers

U.S. Senate’s failure to pass disaster relief package affects Southwest Georgia farmers

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - The whole country may now be affected by a crop shortage here in Southwest Georgia.

Desperately needed help won’t be coming to Southwest Georgia anytime soon.

“The food supply to this country will be interrupted if we don’t get some help,” said the Executive Director of Peanut Buying Points Tyron Spearman.

The United States Senate failed to pass a $13.6 billion disaster relief package in a 44-49 vote.

It intended to help areas impacted by recent storms, like Hurricane Michael.

“It’s terrible, it’s disappointing, it’s just not exactly what we had hoped,” Spearman said.

Farmers are in desperate need of loans from banks to account for damages after the hurricane. Money they most likely won’t see now.

“Many of them won’t be able to get their financing upfront because we are not receiving anything from the Washington deal,” said Spearman.

If farmers can’t get money from the relief package, they can’t get money from banks, then they can’t plant their crops this season.

“If a farmer can’t get financing then there will be a shortage at the end of the year, or sometime between then and harvest time,” Spearman said.

Farmers are supposed to plant crops April 15. A date many will have to miss this year.

“They’ll keep fighting and we can hope and pray we will get some disaster relief sometime in the near future,” said Spearman.

Senators David Purdue and Johnny Isakson both released statements saying they will continue to fight for the disaster relief bill.

They worked with a group of senators to introduce the bipartisan relief package back in February.

Weather horrible for Georgia crops

Hurricane Michael isn’t the only issue Southwest Georgia Farmers are facing this season.

The ground is too wet and cold from weeks of recent rain to plant crops.

The temperature has to be 65 degrees for three consecutive days on the top soil before seeds can be planted.

Spearman said the rain and recent hail storms have left their fields devastated.

“Everybody is just in a panic to try to get the plants. Then again, at night, stuff is not growing right when it’s 40 degrees. You need it up there at the 70 degree mark to get some growth on your plants,” said Spearman.

Spearman said they may not be able to get their crops planted if they don’t have sunny and dry weather soon.

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