The USDA Ag Secretary declared 19 Florida counties a natural disaster due to agricultural damage from Hurricane Irma.
There seem to be few sectors of Florida ag that didn’t sustain agricultural damage from Hurricane Irma in September. On October 13th, USDA Ag Secretary, Sonny Perdue, issued a natural disaster designation for 19 counties in Florida due to the agricultural damage sustained. Additionally, he named 25 counties as “contiguous disaster counties.” See the details of the designation, and the reactions of Florida leadership.
Emergency Designation for Agricultural Damage Details
Perdue’s designation was a response to a request by the Florida Farm Service Agency for the designation on September 28th. The declaration document Perdue issued to Florida Governor Rick Scott maintained that the designation allowed farm operators in primary and contiguous counties eligible for consideration for Farm Service Agency (FSA) assistance, including FSA emergency loans. It also urges interested Florida farm operators with agricultural damage to get further details from their local FSA offices.
Reactions by Scott and Putnam
Both Florida Governor Rick Scott and Florida Commissioner of Agriculture, Adam Putnam, issued responses to the natural disaster declaration. On the governor’s website, Gov. Scott said, “Thank you to the USDA for taking action to aid in the recovery of Florida’s iconic citrus industry. By making more federal help available, combined with our Florida Citrus Emergency Loan Program, we are giving farmers a way to immediately address the losses they incurred during Hurricane Irma. I appreciate Secretary Perdue’s attention to this important matter and we will continue to find ways to help every Floridian recover from this storm. It is absolutely critical that we work with the Trump Administration and Congress to help Florida’s citrus and agricultural industries following Hurricane Irma.”
Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam also released a statement, according to a Southeast AgNet article. Comm. Putnam said, ““I thank U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue for taking action to support Florida’s farmers and ranchers still picking up the pieces from Hurricane Irma. Our preliminary estimates peg the total damage at more than $2.5 billion, but it’s important to recognize that the damage is still unfolding. Today’s disaster declaration provides much-needed support, and I will continue working with Governor Scott and our leaders in Washington to get Florida agriculture the relief it needs to rebuild.”
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.