Florida Citrus Mutual spokesman Andrew Meadows updates the grower association’s efforts to obtain aid for growers in the wake of Hurricane Irma.
“It’s been a month since Irma hit, and we at Mutual have been very busy understanding the gravity of the situation and communicating that with our congressional delegation and leaders with the USDA,” Meadows says. “Everybody that needs to be briefed has been briefed and we’ve been back and forth to Washington these last couple weeks, most recently two days ago. Mutual was with (Florida) Commissioner (of Agriculture) Adam Putnam, Governor Rick Scott, as well as Representative Tom Rooney, Representative Vern Buchanan at a hearing to assess damage to Florida, which includes Florida agriculture.
“We’re following Commissioner Putnam’s lead on this. He gave a great presentation, and we’ve got a lot of support in Washington. The folks up there understand how important our industry is to the state. They understand the widespread damage Irma brought, and we’re cautiously optimistic that there will be an aid package coming down the pike here fairly soon.”
Hurricane Irma knocked a significant amount of fruit to the ground and damaged many trees during its September 10-11 run through Florida’s citrus belt. Many groves were left underwater for a long time; a situation that many expect will exacerbate tree losses.
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