The U.S. Department of Agriculture has expanded its natural disaster declaration to encompass 27 Georgia counties, including Tift and Turner, due to the damages caused by Hurricane Idalia on August 30. This declaration enables farmers, producers, and eligible agricultural operations in the affected areas to seek emergency disaster relief through the Farm Service Agency. State Agriculture Commissioner Tyler Harper expressed gratitude for the expanded declaration, citing significant damage to agricultural operations in South Central and Southeast Georgia. The 27 counties impacted have over 7,800 agricultural operations, cultivating more than 2.3 million acres with a farm-gate value exceeding $3.5 billion. The Georgia Department of Agriculture regulates various entities across these counties, including livestock and poultry operations, grocery stores, meat processing facilities, gas stations, and animal shelters. The total economic loss from Hurricane Idalia is still being calculated by the Farm Service Agency and UGA Extension. Primary counties in the disaster declaration include Irwin, Ben Hill, Berrien, and Cook, with contiguous counties such as Tift, Turner, and Colquitt also eligible for assistance. Residents and business owners in the designated areas can apply for assistance through www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 800-621-FEMA (3362).