Governor Ron DeSantis today announced that Florida has signed an agreement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to administer $380.7 million in grant funding for Florida’s timber industry following the impact of Hurricane Michael.
“My administration has been working tirelessly to secure this agreement for timber producers in Northwest Florida,” said Governor DeSantis. “Today, we are another step closer to providing much-needed relief to those still feeling the impacts of Hurricane Michael. I look forward to continue working with the USDA to develop a comprehensive plan that will maximize benefits for our farmers. Thank you, President Trump, Secretary Purdue, Senator Rubio and Congressman Dunn, for your partnership in the continued effort to rebuild Northwest Florida.”
“In response to COVID-19, we have been running the largest operation in our state’s history, and still, we’ve been able to stay focused on hurricane recovery, paying out more than $444 million since March 15,” said Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) Director Jared Moskowitz. “Overall, since January 2019, we’ve been able to pay out more than $2.4 billion for hurricane recovery, including $250 million for citrus farmers recovering from Hurricane Irma. We’ll be able to use this success to ensure we are administering this long-overdue funding for timber farmers impacted by Hurricane Michael as efficiently as possible.”
This agreement establishes eligibility parameters and defines guidelines for the state to implement this program. Timber producers will begin to receive funding as soon as this Fall. The agreement includes relief for all types of timber producers, as well as farmers who have damaged irrigation systems.
Following today’s announcement, state officials will work with USDA to create a plan to distribute these funds. To prepare, agricultural producers in Northwest Florida can begin to collect planting records, photographic evidence from the storm and apply to the USDA Emergency Forest Restoration Program.
FDEM will be conducting community outreach to ensure timber producers have the information they need. Additionally, producers can email questions to [email protected].
Previous announcements regarding this program can be found here.