Editor's note: Bryan County was declared a disaster area today, which may help some local farmers get USDA loans. Here's the press release:ATLANTA –Governor Sonny Perdue announced today United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Thomas J. Vilsack has declared 60 eligible Georgia counties disaster areas as a result of the damage sustained from excessive rainfall, flash flooding, severe wind, tornadoes and lightning sustained from March 2009 to present. An additional 28 counties were named as contiguous disaster areas. The designation was sent in response to Governor Perdue’s requests submitted in April and July.“Agriculture continues to be Georgia’s largest industry and the backbone of our economy,” said Governor Perdue. “These programs will assist farmers in counties that have been hit hard by extreme weather conditions.”Based on USDA Damage Assessment Reports, farmers in 60 counties experienced enough damage to crops to qualify for the disaster declaration. Eligible farmers in designated counties that meet the criteria may apply for a USDA low interest loan at their county Farm Service Agency (FSA) office. The sixty counties are listed below:Appling, Atkinson, Bacon, Baker, Ben Hill, Berrien, Bibb, Brantley, Brooks, Bryan, Calhoun, Candler, Chatham, Clay, Clinch, Coffee, Colquitt, Cook, Crawford, Crisp, Decatur, Dooly, Dougherty, Early, Echols, Effingham, Houston, Jeff Davis, Lamar, Lanier, Long, Lowndes, Macon, Marion, Miller, Mitchell, Monroe, Montgomery, Peach, Pierce, Pike, Quitman, Randolph, Seminole, Schley, Stewart, Sumter, Taylor, Terrell, Tift, Thomas, Toombs, Treutlen, Turner, Upson, Ware, Wayne, Webster, Wilcox and Worth.In addition to those 60 counties, the USDA also designated an additional 28 counties as contiguous disaster areas, qualifying farmers for the same assistance as those in primary counties. The contiguous counties are:Bleckley, Bulloch, Butts, Camden, Chattahoochee, Charlton, Dodge, Emanuel, Evans, Glynn, Grady, Irwin, Jasper, Johnson, Jones, Laurens, Lee, Liberty, McIntosh, Meriwether, Pulaski, Screven, Spalding, Talbot, Tattnall, Telfair, Twiggs and Wheeler. For more information, please visit www.fsa.usda.gov .