January 28, 2011

USDA Declares Florida Counties Disaster Areas


The U.S. Department of Agriculture has designated 34 Florida counties as freeze-related disaster areas.

The USDA designated 28 other counties as contiguous natural disaster areas, according to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

The counties include most of south Florida’s peninsular counties south of the Florida-Georgia state line from Jacksonville, Fla., to the Homestead, Fla., area south of Miami and includes the Indian River and central Florida growing regions.

With the formal designation, growers can apply for assistance from the USDA Farm Service Agency, including emergency loans and supplemental revenue assistance payments, according to a news release.

“Florida’s growers have faced difficult challenges this season, leading to significant crop loss and damage,” Florida Agricultural Secretary Adam Putnam said in a news release. “The natural disaster area designation from the USDA will enable Florida’s growers to apply for and obtain the assistance they need to recover and refocus their efforts on providing fresh fruits and vegetables to dining tables across the country.”

The declaration also allows growers in the Indian River region and Palm Beach County to seek assistance from drought conditions that have persisted since June, according to the release.
By Doug Ohlemeier

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