Gov. Rick Scott said the state will “soon” begin accepting applications from citrus farmers whose crops and groves were damaged by Hurricane Irma, after the Joint Legislative Budget Commission on Thursday accepted $357 million in federal funding for the industry.
Gov. Rick Scott is asking U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to move quickly to get disaster-relief funding into the hands of Florida citrus growers, as it may be another three months before farmers can start to apply for the money.
Automation. Development. Citrus Greening. Florida’s agriculture industry is hurting, and Hurricane Irma is only the most recent blow. During this year's legislative session, lawmakers will be considering how to support the industry, which is second only to tourism.
Hurricane Irma destroyed farms and groves all around Hendry County. An agriculture expert says 78 percent of the adult population in Hendry works in the ag industry. Irma damages will affect everyone from growers to grocery stores.
State lawmakers want to cut fees for the manufacturers of harmful pesticides. That could make it cheaper for chemical companies to sell their products in the state. But a critic of the measure is worried how the change could affect farmworkers’ health.
Across the country, advocates are hailing industrial hemp as a miracle crop. Some Floridians even think the plant could surpass oranges as an agricultural powerhouse. But lawmakers in the capitol are urging caution.