Hurricane Disaster Aid for Florida Farmers One Step Closer

Hurricane Disaster Aid for Florida Farmers One Step Closer

A water-logged citrus grove in Southwest Florida following Irma

Hurricane Irma impacted all of Florida’s agriculture. The citrus sector was hit particularly hard. Affected producers are counting on federal disaster aid to help recover what was lost. Photo by Monica Ozores-Hampton

Members of the U.S. House of Representatives have just put up for consideration what is one of the largest standalone disaster spending bill in recent years — an aid package set to the tune of $81 billion. Within the long list of line items, and of utmost importance to Florida farmers still reeling from Hurricane Irma’s impact, the bill includes $2.6 billion for agricultural assistance.

Florida Congressman Tom Rooney (R-17), a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, has been pushing for the much-needed farm aid for his state from the start. “This has been a trying time for all of the state’s farmers, ranchers, and growers who have been working tirelessly for months to recover from the devastation caused by Irma throughout Florida’s Heartland,” Rooney stated. “I am glad to say we finally cleared the first major hurdle by securing this funding in the latest disaster supplemental bill. I am grateful to House Leadership for working with me and all of the industry stakeholders in Florida to support this funding and for their commitment to getting this bill approved before the end of the year.”

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In the wake of Hurricane Irma, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam reported the state’s farm sector sustained more than $2.5 billion in damages. Now three months later, Putnam points to the announcement of proposed emergency funding as the first bit of good news he’s heard since the storm. “I want to thank Representative Rooney, Governor Rick Scott, and the entire Florida congressional delegation for working tirelessly to get Florida agriculture the relief it desperately needs. I will continue to work with leaders in Washington to make sure that this funding becomes a reality so Florida’s agriculture industry can continue to do what it does best: feed our state, our country, and the world.”

According to Rooney, after this bill clears the House this week, it will be on to the Senate for its approval and then to the President’s desk. “Our growers have always been resilient, and I know that with this funding, they will be able to replant, rebuild, and regrow into the new year.”