U.S. Representative

Dennis A. Ross

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Ross and Rooney to Mulvaney: Hurricane-Battered Florida Citrus Needs Help

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Washington, October 13, 2017 | J.P. Freire (202-225-0782) | comments

U.S. Rep. Dennis A. Ross (R-FL-15), Senior Deputy Majority Whip, and Rep. Thomas J. Rooney (R-FL-17) are urging Mick Mulvaney, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, to help Florida’s beleaguered citrus industry, according to a new letter released today.

“The path of Hurricane Irma struck a potentially lethal blow to Florida agriculture. According to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, total losses to production are estimated at over $2.5 billion, including more than $760 million in losses for Florida citrus,” reads the letter. “In fact, all of Florida’s citrus crop was affected, with initial assessments estimating that growers will lose 60 percent of the 2017-2018 crop. 45,000 citrus industry jobs and entire communities in our state are in jeopardy as a result of the storm.”

The request was cheered by Florida stakeholders.

"Our iconic industry has requested emergency funding to help us overcome this setback and continue to produce great products, including the best orange juice in the world. We are asking for the federal government to support us, and are tremendously grateful for the leadership of Florida's Congressional delegation,” said Shannon Shepp, executive director of the Florida Department of Citrus.

"There is no question that Hurricane Irma caused massive damage to Florida Agriculture. Florida citrus had devastating losses and it appears that 60 percent of the crop was lost," said Michael W. Sparks, executive vice president and CEO of Florida Citrus Mutual. "Our industry is at a crossroads and financial assistance is needed immediately to ensure the future of Florida citrus."

The full text of the letter is below.

October 13, 2017

Dear Director Mulvaney

We write to you today to respectfully urge you, in any future supplemental disaster funding package, to request additional money for agriculture programs devastated by the recent hurricanes.

The path of Hurricane Irma struck a potentially lethal blow to Florida agriculture. According to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, total losses to production are estimated at over $2.5 billion, including more than $760 million in losses for Florida citrus. In fact, all of Florida’s citrus crop was affected, with initial assessments estimating that growers will lose 60 percent of the 2017-2018 crop. 45,000 citrus industry jobs and entire communities in our state are in jeopardy as a result of the storm.

The support we are requesting is essential to ensuring the survival of Florida’s historic agricultural industry. Of course, like you, we understand and appreciate the need to be responsible in spending taxpayer dollars, but we are also convinced the devastation endured in our state merits prompt aid from federal partners.   

Agriculture is the lifeblood of many families and communities throughout our state, and failure to provide this aid immediately will have far-reaching consequences. For that reason, we implore you to include federal assistance dollars for agriculture in any future disaster supplemental package, and look forward to working with you to ensure the continued well-being of this nation’s agriculture industry and the people who constitute it.

Sincerely,

 

Dennis A. Ross                              Thomas J. Rooney

Member of Congress                     Member of Congress

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