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Story in Brief

Seminole County took the most direct hit of any Georgia county from Hurricane Michael in 2018, destroying crops, timber, homes, and almost everything else in the county and devastating the 9,000 citizens, who directly or indirectly depend on agriculture for their livelihoods. Most citizens, including farmers and landowners, received some much-needed help, but not enough to cover their losses. Then in 2020, the Georgia Farm Recovery Block Grant program was announced to further assist citizens in farming communities recover from Hurricane Michael’s visit. This block grant program is designed to compensate producers for losses and expenses in seven categories of assistance: beef, dairy, fruit and vegetable, pecan, poultry, timber, and uninsured infrastructure. The application process was complicated and required on-line reporting. Farmers needed help from the UGA Extension agent. When the Georgia FRBG was announced, the county coordinator advertised it in the newspaper, through social media, and even sent personal emails to Seminole County producers. When the application window was opened, she was there to field many calls and office visits concerning the grant and even made visits to evaluate timber losses. She assisted 25 clients in entering and uploading information and paperwork for a total of over 32 applications for assistance. She had over 75 work sessions with the clients, some of which were spent working to help clarify the submitted applications for the Department of Agriculture. Once the grants were awarded, she helped many of the recipients with the contract acceptance procedure. More than $1.7 million was awarded to farmers and landowners she personally assisted.