Today, Governor Rick Scott urged the legislative commission charged with granting spending authority to approve $340 million in federal funding to aid Florida’s citrus growers. Earlier this year, following months of Governor Scott fighting for critical funding and support for Florida’s citrus industry, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced $340 million in federal funding to aid the Florida citrus industry’s recovery from Hurricane Irma. Now that a grant for this funding has been approved in an agreement between the USDA and the State of Florida, it will be considered by the Florida Legislative Budget Commission (LBC) tomorrow. The block grant for Florida citrus is part of a more than $2.3 billion federal package approved earlier this year.
Governor Rick Scott, joined by Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, today met with members of the Florida congressional delegation to discuss Hurricane Irma and Florida’s citrus industry. It’s estimated that Hurricane Irma caused more than $2.5 billion in losses for Florida’s agriculture industry, including more than $760 million in losses for Florida citrus.
Last week, Governor Scott activated a $25 million Florida Citrus Emergency Loan Program to support citrus growers impacted by Hurricane Irma. Learn more about the program HERE.
Below is an excerpt of the Governor’s remarks as prepared for delivery from today in Washington:
- With Floridians ready to get back to their normal lives, it is time for Florida to rebuild.
- Today, I’m here to urge you to work together and pass legislation to facilitate the rebuilding process. As you know, Florida prides itself in our incredible and iconic citrus industry. Florida’s world famous citrus industry has been negatively affected by the impacts of Irma – with an estimated more than $760 million in losses alone in citrus, and more than $2.5 billion in losses in total for the Florida agricultural industry.
- Floridians deserve to be made whole again after this catastrophic storm, and I urge you to work with your colleagues to help Florida with the losses accrued in our citrus and agriculture industries. Florida farmers are a tough, hardworking group not looking for a government handout.
- This industry was already struggling from the impacts of citrus greening and we cannot let Irma decimate our industry long-term.