House Passes Block Grant Assistance Act

Tacy Callieshurricane, Legislative

Hurricane Ian caused widespread damage to Florida citrus groves.
(Photo by Frank Giles)

Rep. Scott Franklin (FL-18) announced the House of Representatives passed the Block Grant Assistance Act on June 12. This critical bill provides needed authority for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to issue block grants to growers devastated by Hurricanes Ian and Nicole. It now heads to the Senate for consideration.

Those supporting the Block Grant Assistance Act include Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Wilton Simpson, Florida Farm Bureau, Florida Citrus Mutual and the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association.

“The Florida citrus industry is synonymous with the Sunshine State and the backbone of many of our rural communities,” Franklin said. “Extreme hurricane seasons, ongoing trade disadvantages and invasive diseases have forced citrus growers to navigate significant challenges. I’m pleased the House acted to provide needed support so Americans can continue to enjoy the staples our domestic citrus industry provides.”

“This legislation is a step in the right direction to ensure Florida’s agriculture industry gets the help they need, and I urge its immediate passage in the Senate,” said Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL).

“I applaud the effectiveness of the Florida delegation led by Rep. Franklin. They sent a powerful message with a strong unanimous voice to protect Florida agriculture and connect them with much-needed relief. Producing our own food is key to our national security, and I thank our delegation for their support,” said Commissioner Simpson.

“Back-to-back major storms in 2022 only compounded the challenges facing Florida growers who are already struggling to make a comeback,” said Matt Joyner, chief executive officer of Florida Citrus Mutual. “I am pleased that, thanks to Representative Franklin, the House acted to provide authority for this much-needed relief.”

More than 90% of all Florida citrus production was impacted by hurricanes in 2022, totaling 375,302 acres. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services expects these devastating losses to cost the industry as much as $675 million.