A CRITICAL INDUSTRY
Senator Rubio knows that agriculture is a critical industry, for America as a whole, but also for the people of Florida, many of whom depend on the land for their income and way of life. This is why Rubio has spent years working in Congress to protect agriculture from natural disasters, unfair trade practices, and burdensome government regulations.
In 2017, Hurricane Irma devastated Florida’s citrus trees. This was on top of the industry combating a foreign pest. In terms of aid, Rubio rejected the initial (and insufficient) federal response. He pushed for greater disaster relief and eventually secured $2.36 billion for this purpose. Rubio also secured the creation of the $343 million Florida Citrus Recovery Block Grant. Later, when the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted farms across the country, Rubio ensured agricultural firms could access the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, a first in the history of the U.S. Small Business Administration.
FIGHTING FOR FAIR TRADE
But disasters and diseases are not the only threats to farmers. In recent years, Mexico has intentionally subsidized its agricultural sector to displace American producers of seasonal produce, many of whom are Floridians. Rubio pushes for American countermeasures at every turn. This bore fruit in 2019 when the U.S. Department of Commerce suspended free trade of tomatoes with Mexico. It also delivered results when the same department upheld that suspension against a specialty tomato exemption request in 2022.
In addition to these victories, Rubio secures key provisions for Florida in annual appropriations bills passed by Congress. In 2020 alone, he appropriated more than $150 billion for agriculture, rural development, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and related agencies. These funds support initiatives like citrus greening research and response, the Minor Crop Pest Management program, and agricultural research conducted by the Agricultural Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture.