South Georgia farmers struggle to recover from Hurricane Michael

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Nearly five months after Hurricane Michael pummeled southwest Georgia as a category 3 storm, farmers are still scrambling to find help as they try to recover. Tuesday, Georgia Senator David Perdue introduced a standalone bill in a renewed push for disaster relief funding.

Just a few minutes down the road from Atlanta, winds clocked in around 115 miles per hour when the hurricane thrashed through southwest Georgia. The hurricane destroyed thousands of trees and other vegetation.

Glenn Earnest's quick-wit and step disguise his age well. The timber farmer is two and a half harvests or 77 years old.

It takes nearly 30 years for timber to come to harvest and last October when Hurricane Michael bulldozed through Ernest's trees, which were less than five years away from optimum growth.

Farmers are still scrambling to find temporary solutions facing $2.5 billion worth of agricultural losses across the state.

“So the timing is absolutely critical that we get this done right away,” said Sen. Perdue.

After disaster relief failed to make it into the latest federal budget, Sen. Perdue is at it again, this time, with a standalone bill.

“So there's relief in there for the farmers in South Georgia and Alabama and Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina as well as relief for the fire victims in California,” said Sen. Perdue.

Earnest is still in the cleanup process, an operation that costs tens of thousands of dollars. He won't be able to start re-planting until next winter around his 78th birthday.

"My generation will never see it again as it was yesterday," Earnest said admitting he is leaving it behind for the next generation. "For my grandkids, yeah, not for me."

The monetary loss is particularly severe for long-term crops. Earnest's land value dropping by hundreds of thousands of dollars.

"It's just not a place you would bother to prepare for hurricanes, which also means that a lot of the damage was on things that weren't insured," said Jeffery Dorfman, economics professor at the University of Georgia.

Time is ticking for Congress to pass some form of disaster relief funding. The planting season for the majority of crops is in March and April, and some farmers said they will not be able to plant without receiving monetary assistance before then.