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USDA approves disaster aid after Southwest Fla. freeze

Posted at 10:52 AM, Mar 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-22 10:52:04-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) announced Tuesday that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) approved disaster designation for 17 counties and 10 contiguous counties impacted by the freezing temperatures that occurred from Jan. 23 – 31.

Farmers will be able to apply for aid as they continue their recovery efforts.

“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.

More information on USDA assistance programs is available here.

To apply for these programs, agricultural producers impacted by the freezing temperatures in the eligible counties should contact their local Farm Service Agency office. A list of Farm Service Agency offices in Florida is available here.