On Friday, Gov. Ron DeSantis hosted U.S. Agriculture Sec. Sonny Perdue at a round table event in Tallahassee focused on how to help Florida agriculture and timber industry recover from Hurricane Michael.
Back in October, Hurricane Michael devastated parts of North Florida. DeSantis said it was imperative that the federal and state governments continue to work together to help the Panhandle and Big Bend recover.
DeSantis and Perdue cheered President Donald Trump for signing a $19.1 billion supplemental spending package last week “to assist Americans in recovery efforts from catastrophic disasters over the past three years” which included $480 million to help the timber industry in Northwest Florida recover from the hurricane. Estimates show Hurricane Michael cost Florida’s timber industry around $1.3 billion.
“I am thankful to Secretary Perdue for meeting with us in Tallahassee this morning to discuss the recovery of our agriculture industry from Hurricane Michael, particularly our timber industry,” said DeSantis. “By combining the efforts of our state and federal partners, we will work to ensure the much-needed disaster aid signed by President Trump reaches our farmers and timber growers efficiently so this industry can thrive once again.”
“When Hurricane Michael hit Florida’s panhandle last October, I came down to see for myself the extensive timber damage in the Caloosahatchee Forest,” said Perdue. “Yesterday, President Trump signed the disaster aid bill which will provide much needed resources to assist farmers, ranchers and producers dealing with extensive damage to their operations here in Florida. USDA stands ready to work with Governor DeSantis and the state of Florida to administer this aid package in a fair and efficient way.”
Other attendees included U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla., state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and a host of state legislators and appointed officials including Florida Department of Citrus Executive Director Shannon Shepp, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Executive Director Eric Sutton and Florida Division of Emergency Management Director Jared Moskowitz.
Florida Farm Bureau President John Hoblick, Florida Forestry Association Executive Vice President Alan Shelby, Florida Cattlemen’s Association Director of Governmental Affairs Sam Ard, Florida Blueberry Growers Association President Brittany Lee and Florida Citrus Mutual Director of Government Relations Matt Joyner also attended the meeting.
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