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Florida Lawmakers Seek USDA Disaster Declaration

A group of bipartisan lawmakers from Florida wants the Department of Agriculture to declare a disaster area for Florida counties impacted by Hurricane Ian. The lawmakers made the request last week in a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. The letter also asked Vilsack to make assistance available to growers whose crops were damaged or destroyed. The letter states, “to ensure that they can recover from losses and continue their important service of feeding America, the expeditious approval of a disaster declaration is warranted and necessary in order to have a successful winter and spring harvest season.” The lawmakers say Florida’s growers have a unique role in the American food economy, as one of the only locations in the United States where major agricultural production can occur in the winter and spring months.  Also last week, USDA’s Economic Research Service reported Florida accounted for 1.7 percent of U.S. farm sector cash receipts in 2021.

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