By Frank Giles
There is no question Hurricane Ian will go down as a historic catastrophe in Florida. It’s impact on agriculture will likely be historic as well. While it is too early to know the full extent of damage, AgNet Media is reaching out to growers and various industry associations and agencies to learn the extent of damage to Florida farms and will be reporting details as they become available.
“Assessments won’t be able to begin until the storm fully passes, at which time that will be done by University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences as with previous events,” said Erin Moffet, spokesperson for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
“As the sun comes up this morning, we know that we are seeing unprecedented damage in many areas of the state from Hurricane Ian. The coming days, weeks and months will show us just what that damage entails. Florida Citrus Mutual is prepared to work with growers in the recovery process, but first we want to focus on everyone’s safety,” noted Matt Joyner, executive vice president and chief executive officer of Florida Citrus Mutual in a letter to its members. “Once everyone has an opportunity to get their bearings and assess their damage, we will begin collecting information to aid in any potential requests for assistance.”
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has partnered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other disaster-focused organizations to create the Disaster Resource Center. This central source of information utilizes a searchable knowledge base of disaster-related resources powered by agents with subject matter expertise. The Disaster Resource Center website and web tool now provide an easy access point to find USDA disaster information and assistance.
USDA also developed a disaster assistance discovery tool specifically targeted to rural and agricultural issues. The tool walks producers through five questions that generate personalized results to identify which USDA disaster assistance programs can help them recover from a natural disaster.
USDA also encourages residents and small businesses in impacted zones to contact a local USDA office to determine which assistance programs might meet their individual needs.
If you would like to share damage information regarding your farm, please contact Frank Giles at Frank@AgNetMedia.com.