Read the latest update on Florida’s agriculture federal disaster aid.
Florida Agriculture suffered great losses when Hurricane Irma rolled through Florida in early September of 2017. Calculations done by the Florida Department of Agriculture and consumer services put the damage to Florida Agriculture at $2.5 billion. Florida’s leaders have worked hard to ensure relief for Florida agriculture from governmental sources, and while it’s been approved to the tune of $2.36 billion, the federal disaster aid funds themselves have been long and coming. Finally, an announced for the distributions of funds to Florida Agriculture operators was made in early April. See the details below, along with Industry leaders’ responses.
Release of Agricultural Federal Disaster Aid
According to a Citrus Industry article, agricultural relief funds should be arriving in “within the next 100 days,” as announced by U.S. ag secretary Sonny Perdue. “USDA (the U.S. Department of Agriculture) is working as quickly as possible to develop procedures and a system by which affected producers can access disaster assistance,” Perdue shared in a prepared message, adding, ““sign-up for the new program, authorized by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, will begin no later than July 16.”
Reactions of Ag Industry Leaders
Many Florida leaders, both within Agriculture and outside of it, have been critical of the distribution of agricultural relief funds, due to delayed disbursement. Senator Bill Nelson maintained that some ag operators, such as those in Citrus industry, we’re in such dire straits that some would be going out of business while waiting for federal disaster aid to be released.
Florida Commissioner of Agriculture, Adam Putnam, said in a printed statement: “Florida agriculture took a direct hit from Hurricane Irma and has long-awaited this much-needed disaster relief. I thank Secretary Perdue for moving forward with the process to make disaster payments. We look forward to continuing to work with the USDA to ensure that this program is implemented quickly and in the best way possible to help Florida’s producers recover from the devastating hurricane.”
Florida Senator Mark Rubio, in a letter, according to another Citrus Industry article, asked that Perdue helps to “avoid arbitrary limitations on disaster relief so we can get Florida’s farms, groves, and nurseries back to full operation.”
Florida Governor Rick Scott, in another letter, maintained “Many growers, both large and small, in Florida are awaiting details on the USDA’s (U.S. Department of Agriculture’s) plan to distribute funding,”…and asked Perdue to “customize federal aid for Florida citrus growers,” who were hit hard by both Irma and citrus greening.
Griffin Fertilizer is committed to helping both growers and ranchers make sound agronomic and economic decisions in order to maximize the health of their grove and pasture. As a full-service custom dry & liquid fertilizer blender and crop protection product distributor, we will continue our mission to further advance Florida agriculture. For questions or concerns about your farm or pasture, contact us and one of our team will be in touch.