ATLANTA - Nearly all of Georgia has been designated a federal agriculture disaster area due to the ongoing drought and excessive heat.
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said that 150 of Georgia's 159 counties suffered crop production losses great enough to warrant the disaster designation, which allows them to apply for emergency loans and other benefits.
The request to federal officials had been made by Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, who said he hoped the available aid would relieve some of the burden the drought had imposed on the state's No. 1 industry.
U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss also applauded the designation and encouraged producers to check with their local Farm Service Agency office regarding eligibility.
This article has been revised on September 8, 2011 to reflect the following correction: The number of counties in Georgia is 159, not 180 as was originally posted.