USDA approves disaster declaration for Florida agricultural producers hurt by freezing temperatures

Published: March 23, 2022 5:32 AM EDT
Updated: March 23, 2022 5:33 AM EDT
Gov. Ron DeSantis (Credit: WINK News)

GOv.  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 to Jan. 31.

“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,” DeSantis said. “I remain committed to supporting our state’s agriculture industry and hardworking farmers.”

“This disaster declaration will provide additional recovery assistance to our hardworking agricultural producers impacted by the freezing temperatures,” said FDEM Director Kevin Guthrie. “The Division will continue to identify all available resources for impacted farmers and ensure they have access to all programs that will help them recover.”

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 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.

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