Tallahassee, FL (STL.News) – Yesterday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue held a roundtable discussion at the Florida Governor’s Mansion to discuss the recovery of Florida’s agriculture and timber industry from the impacts of Hurricane Michael. The Governor and Secretary were joined at the roundtable by elected officials and stakeholders from throughout the state of Florida.
“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 Governor 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 Secretary 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.”
On June 6th, President Donald Trump signed H.R. 2157, a bipartisan $19.1 billion supplemental spending package to assist Americans in recovery efforts from catastrophic disasters over the past three years. Included in the appropriations legislation was $480 million to help timber growers in Northwest Florida recover from the devastating impacts Hurricane Michael had on Florida’s timber industry, which is estimated to have cost as much as $1.3 billion.
Elected officials in attendance at the roundtable included Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, Congressman Ted Yoho, Senator Wilton Simpson, Senator Rob Bradley, Senator George Gainer, Senator Bill Montford, Representative Jay Trumbull, Representative Brad Drake, Representative Loranne Ausley, Representative Chuck Brannan and Representative Chuck Clemons. State officials also present included 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.
Agriculture industry stakeholders in attendance included 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.