The weekend of January 28-30, record cold temperatures threatened crops throughout the State of Florida. In response, Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order declaring cold-related states of emergency in Hernando County and 29 counties. Now the Governor is asking the federal government to help farmers and ranchers recover the losses they incurred because of the cold.
In a Feb. 7 letter, DeSantis asked U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack to issue a federal Disaster Declaration for the Florida counties impacted by the frigid weather. He also asked Vilsack to provide assistance to agricultural producers in this state through federal USDA programs including the Farm Service. The Farm Service Agency offers loans to help farmers and ranchers get the financing they need to start, expand or maintain their family farming operations.
“Florida’s farmers play a key role in our State’s economy and my administration is committed to their recovery from the recent freezing temperatures,” DeSantis said. “I’ve requested that the USDA approve all assistance available so that Florida’s agriculture community can protect remaining crops and prevent any further losses.”
Meanwhile, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity has activated a Business Damage Assessment Survey intended to help the agency determine which Florida crops were most affected by the cold snap and how state agencies could help farmers recover their losses.
That survey is available at FloridaDisaster.biz