Agencies Act to Assist Florida Agriculture

Josh McGillFlorida, hurricane

Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association reported the following actions that Florida government agencies took during and after Hurricane Ian to aid impacted agricultural entities, including citrus.

Hurricane Ian knocked down citrus trees in Lee County.

The Florida Department of Transportation announced it suspended the size and weight restrictions for divisible loads on any vehicles transporting emergency equipment, services, supplies and agricultural commodities, including citrus and sugar. Read the FDOT Emergency Road Use Permit Letter here.

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) filed emergency rule 5BER22-4. This means that any citrus nursery stock within a greenhouse that was damaged due to the impact of Hurricane Ian or otherwise exposed shall be moved from the certified greenhouse into a non-certified structure with restrictions. All citrus nursery stock moved into a non-certified structure must be tracked by the nursery, and the tracking records shall be made available to the department upon request. Read the emergency rule here.

FDACS submitted a request to county emergency management offices to assist agricultural service vehicles and agricultural workers in obtaining access to critical agricultural facilities in their county. The request noted that agricultural service vehicles and agricultural workers require access to facilities to ensure animal welfare, the security of hazardous materials, and to supply food to citizens. Read the request here.

Hurricane Ian battered much of the state’s citrus belt as it tore through Florida Sept. 28–29. Initial indications were that much fruit would be lost and that many groves were flooded to varying degrees. Some tree damage and tree loss are expected. Efforts to assess damage in the days immediately after the storm were hindered by cell phone and internet outages.

Source: Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association

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