The Florida Division of Emergency Management (DEM) announced the successful receipt of $343,221,216.73 in federal Florida Citrus Tree Recovery Program funds to help Florida citrus farmers recover from the devastating effects of Hurricane Irma. Four workshops will be held to assist growers in applying for the funds.
This outcome was accomplished through a partnership with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) in which DEM manages the distribution of the block grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). DEM, FDACS and USDA worked together to produce the grant agreement.
DEM Director Wes Maul said, “We have made it our priority to get this money into the hands of the many citrus farmers who suffered following Hurricane Irma’s devastating impacts. They are critical to the recovery of Florida’s iconic industry and we will continue to work with our state and federal partners to make this happen as quickly as possible. Our total commitment is evidenced by the fact that we have significantly expedited this process, leading to program implementation more than four months faster than originally anticipated by federal authorities.”
FDACS Commissioner Adam Putnam said, “We’ve worked tirelessly with Florida’s agriculture industry, elected leaders and government agencies to help our citrus industry recover from Hurricane Irma’s unprecedented damage. 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.”
The goal of management of the process by DEM is for the funds to be distributed to farmers as quickly as possible.
DEM has scheduled four Citrus Block Grant Application Workshops to assist producers in understanding the application process. They will be held at the following times and locations:
- Monday, Sept. 24, 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m., USDA Horticultural Lab, 2001 S Rock Rd., Fort Pierce, FL 34945
- Thursday, Sept. 27, 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m., Citrus Research and Education Center, 700 Experiment Station Rd., Lake Alfred, FL 33850
- Thursday, Sept. 27, 2:00-5:00 p.m., Bert Harris Ag Center, 4509 George Blvd., Sebring, FL 33875
- Friday, Sept. 28, 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m., Dallas Townsend Center, 1085 Pratt Blvd., LaBelle, FL 33935
In order to assist eligible producers, the grant will be allocated for three purposes to aid in the recovery of farming operations:
Part 1: Tree Resets, Grove Rehabilitation and Irrigation System Repair/Replacement (estimated $129 million)
- Crop production loss of at least 20 percent due to Hurricane Irma;
- Up to $385.00/acre for tree reset, rehabilitate or replacement, irrigation and drainage system repair, etc.;
- Available fall 2018.
Part 2: Future Economic Losses (estimated $182 million)
- Crop production loss of at least 40 percent due to Hurricane Irma;
- Application with supporting documentation for Part 1 required;
- Up to $745.50/acre for expected citrus losses for crop years in 2019 and 2020; and,
- Up to 3 payments total:
- Fall 2018 site inspection – up to $372.75/acre;
- Proof of purchase for 2020 crop insurance – up to $186.38/acre; and,
- Proof of purchase for 2021 crop insurance – up to $186.38/acre.
Part 3: Crop Insurance Purchase Requirements (subject to availability of funds and estimated $29 million)
- Payment following crop insurance premiums for crop years 2022 and 2023;
- Up to two payments total:
- Proof of purchase for 2022 crop insurance – TBD and,
- Proof of purchase for 2023 crop year insurance – TBD.
For more inquiries concerning the Citrus Block Grant Application Workshops, contact Florida DEM Senior Management Analyst Joseph Oglesby at (850) 815-4450.
Source: Florida Disaster.org/Florida Division of Emergency Management
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