January 14, 2010

Putnam To Inspect Freeze Damage To Crops

January 13, 2010

WASHINGTON – Congressman Adam Putnam will inspect damage to crops, foliage and aquaculture in Central and South Florida that have been hit hard by record cold temperatures this month.

Earlier this week, Putnam led a bipartisan appeal from the Florida Congressional delegation to the U.S. Department of Agriculture to be prepared to respond quickly to an anticipated request from the Governor for disaster relief.

“It may be late next week before we will know the full extent of the damage,” said Putnam. “But the information I have received from individual growers and industry leaders makes it clear Florida agriculture has suffered one of the worst cold weather-related events in more than a decade.”

Putnam plans to visit a plant a tropical fish farm near Plant City and citrus groves near Groveland Thursday. Friday he will be in South Florida, meeting with growers at the Tropical Plant Industry Exhibition in Broward County and with winter vegetable farmers near Belle Glade. Monday he will be in the Immokalee and Naples area meeting with citrus and vegetable growers.

“Agriculture contributes nearly $100 billion a year to Florida’s economy,” said Putnam. These losses will exacerbate already record low farm incomes, and impact consumer prices. In a time when we are all struggling to recover from a recession, one of Florida's economic pillars has been dealt a major blow and it will have a reach far beyond the farm gate. However, Florida’s farmers are a resilient lot and many are already making plans to replant. American families can continue to count on Florida to supply the bulk of the fruit and vegetables consumed during the winter months.”

Since 2001, Putnam has represented Florida’s 12th Congressional District, which includes most of Polk County and portions of Hillsborough and Osceola counties.

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