Citrus aid moves a step closer
As a new citrus growing season gets underway, federal assistance tied to the hurricane-ravaged 2017-2018 harvest is finally moving into the application phase.
The state Division of Emergency Management announced Friday it has secured a $343 million block grant that was part of a wider disaster-relief package signed into law in February by President Donald Trump. The agency also said a series of four application workshops will be held this month for growers.
“Thanks to the hard work of so many, this much-needed piece of disaster assistance is finally on the way and will go a long way to help Florida’s citrus industry rebuild,” Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam said in a prepared statement.
Gov. Rick Scott said in a statement that the money will “help our hard-working growers continue to rebuild and ensure that Florida remains synonymous with citrus.”
The block grant, part of a $2.36 billion package Congress directed to agricultural businesses damaged by hurricanes and wildfires in 2017, is designed to help the struggling citrus industry, which suffered at least $761 million in losses from Hurricane Irma.
With many farmers facing years of diminished crops, the citrus block-grant application workshops will be held