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Gov. DeSantis approves disaster declaration for produce farmers affected by freeze

WWSB Tampa logo WWSB Tampa 3/22/2022 ABC7 Staff
Governor Ron DeSantis © Provided by WWSB Tampa Governor Ron DeSantis

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WWSB) - Governor Ron DeSantis and the Florida Division of Emergency Management announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s disaster designation for 17 counties and 10 contiguous counties impacted by the freezing temperatures that occurred from Jan. 23 – 31.

A USDA disaster declaration makes farm operators in these counties eligible to be considered for certain assistance from the Farm Service Agency, including emergency loans. Farmers in eligible counties have 8 months from the date of a USDA disaster declaration to apply for emergency loans.

The USDA’s approval letter is available here.

The 17 primary counties eligible for USDA assistance are Broward, Collier, DeSoto, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, Hillsborough, Indian River, Manatee, Martin, Okeechobee, Osceola, Palm Beach, Polk, St. Lucie and Sarasota counties.

“With the approval of our request for a disaster declaration, farmers in Florida have resources available to them as they continue their recovery efforts from recent freezing temperatures,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “I remain committed to supporting our state’s agriculture industry and hardworking farmers.”

The 10 contiguous counties eligible for UDSA assistance are Brevard, Charlotte, Lake, Lee, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Orange, Pasco, Pinellas and Sumter.

Programs available under this declaration include the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program, the Tree Assistance Program, Emergency Farm Loans and the Livestock Indemnity Program. More information on USDA assistance programs is available here.

To apply for these programs, agricultural producers impacted by the freezing temperatures in the eligible counties should contact their local Farm Service Agency office. A list of Farm Service Agency offices in Florida is available here.

In addition to State response actions, Governor DeSantis requested any assistance available under the Farm Service and other USDA programs to assist recovery efforts for agricultural producers. The letter is available here. More information about the USDA Disaster Declaration process is available here.

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