Governor Ron DeSantis has requested a U.S. Department of Agriculture Disaster Declaration to support Florida’s farmers who were impacted by Hurricane Idalia.
In addition to impacting crop yields, Hurricane Idalia also impacted barns, fencing and other equipment. The Governor has requested that the USDA provide all available resources including loans and grants to help Florida’s farmers recover.
“Hurricane Idalia significantly impacted farmers in the Big Bend region,” said Governor Ron DeSantis in his letter to Secretary Tom Vilsack. “I am calling on the USDA to approve all available assistance programs to help these Florida farmers quickly recover.”
Florida’s agriculture industry makes up one of the largest portions of the state’s total gross domestic product, with $7.3 billion in agricultural products sold annually. Florida is home to approximately 47,300 farms and ranches with approximately 9.7 million acres of farmland across the state.
This is in addition to resources available for agriculture businesses through the Emergency Bridge Loan Program. FloridaCommerce has set aside $5 million in the program for agriculture and aquaculture small businesses. Eligible small businesses may apply for loans of up to $50,000 through the program. Loans of up to $100,000 are available for agriculture and aquaculture small businesses. Loans approved through the Emergency Bridge Loan Program are intended to “bridge the gap” between the time a disaster impacts a business and when a business has secured longer term recovery funding, such as federally or commercially available loans, insurance claims or other resources.
Here is the full letter from Governor DeSantis: