GA Hard-hit pecan farmers could be eligible for federal aid

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) – Pecan farmers in South Georgia are trying to determine whether they will be eligible for federal assistance after Hurricane Matthew toppled thousands of mature pecan trees.

Farmers are still working to assess the damage, but Wade Plantation property owner William S. “Billy” Morris III tells the Savannah Morning News that he estimates the storm will reduce pecan production this year by 25 percent to 30 percent. Morris says the Screven County property lost 1,000 mature pecan trees, or about 75 acres worth of trees.

Georgia Department of Agriculture spokeswoman Julie McPeake said some pecan growers lost one-third of their trees.

McPeake said that federal assistance for farmers must go through Gov. Nathan Deal, who will have to ask for a disaster declaration from the Secretary of Agriculture.

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