18 Georgia counties listed as natural disaster areas following peach freeze

A crate filled with peaches during a harvest in Reynolds, Georgia, US, on Friday, July 8, 2022. Despite their ubiquitous association with the state, peaches are no longer Georgia's biggest fruit crop. As temperatures rise, growers and researchers are

A natural disaster declaration has been issued for 18 counties across Georgia so far. Those areas will receive much-needed loans from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to help offset the significant damage on Georgia's peach crop from March's untimely freeze.


The USDA's Farm Service Agency is looking to "extend essential emergency credit" to the farmers in need. That credit comes in the form of a loan that can be used to buy new farm equipment or livestock, reorganize an entire farming operation, or even refinance other loans.

"I’m grateful to USDA Secretary Vilsack for recognizing the importance of delivering much-needed relief to Georgia farmers following the untimely freezes in March," said Agriculture Commissioner Tyler Harper.

"Since the freeze, we’ve worked with our farmers and producers to ensure USDA clearly understood the severity of the situation and the needs of those impacted by the freeze," Harper said. "Georgia peaches are a symbol of the success of our state’s number one industry, and this much-needed relief will help farmers and producers across the state bounce back better than before."

The loans will be allocated based on the extent of losses, security available, and repayment ability.

Georgia farmers and producers in the following counties can apply:

Primary Counties Eligible:

  • Banks
  • Crawford
  • Fannin
  • Gilmer
  • Habersham
  • Hall
  • Jackson
  • Johnson
  • Macon
  • Madison
  • Meriwether
  • Monroe
  • Peach
  • Pike
  • Taylor
  • Towns
  • Union
  • Upson

Contiguous Counties Eligible:

  • Barrow
  • Bibb
  • Butts
  • Clarke
  • Coweta
  • Dawson
  • Dooly
  • Elbert
  • Emanuel
  • Forsyth
  • Franklin
  • Gordon
  • Gwinnett
  • Harris
  • Hart
  • Houston
  • Jasper
  • Jefferson
  • Jones
  • Lamar
  • Laurens
  • Lumpkin
  • Marion
  • Murray
  • Oconee
  • Oglethorpe
  • Pickens
  • Rabun
  • Schley
  • Spalding
  • Stephens
  • Sumter
  • Talbot
  • Treutlen
  • Troup
  • Washington
  • White
  • Wilkinson

The deadline to apply is Feb. 26, 2024.

More information on loan and program options is available on the USDA website.