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Florida requests additional $5 billion for agricultural recovery following Irma

Over the weekend, Florida’s two U.S. senators--Democrat Bill Nelson and Republican Marco Rubio--led nearly all members of the Florida congressional delegation in urging the leaders of the Senate and House appropriations committees to provide additional resources for hurricane recovery efforts in Florida, including $5 billion in funds to for agriculture. 
The Senators expounded on the request in the full request:

"U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA): Hurricane Irma caused massive damage to Florida’s agriculture community with initial total loss estimates from Florida’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services at $2,558,598,303 and rising."

"Our signature crop, citrus, was hit especially hard with an estimated $760,816,600 in losses. Initial total loss estimates in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria are as high as $15,000,000,000."

"We request an increase in the borrowing authority for the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) to ensure critical Tree Assistance Program (TAP) and Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) assistance is available.  We also request additional flexibility for the secretary to use CCC and Section 32 funds for disaster relief and recovery where traditional disaster programs and authorities prove woefully inadequate, including for particularly hard hit crops like citrus, and for a diverse suite of specialty crops, aquaculture products, and greenhouse, nursery, and floriculture products in Florida that are not well served by traditional USDA safety net programs."

"To help sustain and rebuild the citrus industry, we request language be included that is identical to S. 71/H.R.112, the Emergency Citrus Disease Response Act, additional support for the Citrus Health Response Fund and Citrus Greening programs to monitor the spread of and respond to ongoing citrus disease outbreaks, and an emergency expansion of the TAP for citrus in hurricane-afflicted disaster declaration counties to allow for an increase in the total annual assistance cap and suspension of the AGI and acreage limitations."

"We request robust funding for the Stafford Act accounts within the Emergency Conservation Program and the Emergency Watershed Protection Program to rehabilitate farmland and further reduce longer-term production declines associated with Hurricanes Irma and Maria."

Publication date: 10/12/2017


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