| Jan 13 2011
“We hope you will expedite Florida’s request for a disaster declaration so our agriculture community can begin the long road to recovery from the devastating weather conditions,” members of the delegation wrote to U.S.D.A. Secretary Tom Vilsack. “This past December was one of the coldest in Florida’s history with consecutive days of sustained hours of temperatures below freezing. The extreme weather caused significant crop loss and damage across our state.”
“The agriculture community is vital to Florida’s economy and a disaster declaration is necessary to help this vital industry recover from December’s severe weather,” said Senator Marco Rubio.
Florida Senator Bill Nelson and Reps. Jeff Miller (FL-1), Steve Southerland (FL-2), Corrine Brown (FL-3), Ander Crenshaw (FL-4), Rich Nugent (FL-5), Cliff Stearns (FL-6), John Mica (FL-7), Daniel Webster (FL-8), Gus Bilirakis (FL-9), Bill Young (FL-10), Dennis Ross (FL-12), Vern Buchanan (FL-13), Connie Mack (FL-14), Bill Posey (FL-15), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-18), Ted Deutch (FL-19), Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (FL-20), Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-21), Allen West (FL-22), Alcee Hastings (FL-23), Sandy Adams (FL-24), and David Rivera (FL-25) joined Senator Rubio in signing the letter from Congressman Rooney.
The signed letter is available here and the full text is below:
Dear Secretary Vilsack:
We are writing today in strong support of the State of Florida’s December 30, 2010 request for a primary county disaster declaration in response to damage caused by the severe weather conditions over the past several months. In total, the state requested a disaster declaration for thirty-six (36) counties which have suffered from freeze, frost, high wind and drought damage.
This past December was one of the coldest in Florida’s recorded history with consecutive days of sustained hours of temperatures below freezing. The extreme weather caused significant crop loss and damage across our state. Citrus, tomatoes, nursery crops, strawberries, green peppers, tropical fish, sweet corn, and green beans are just some of the crops that were either lost or damaged. As the state’s request pointed out, this weather event has affected both the 2010 and 2011 crop years. Adding to the cold weather damage, some counties were already experiencing drought conditions in the preceding months.
Former Governor Crist and Former Agriculture Commissioner Bronson and current Agriculture Commissioner Putnam corroborated the losses with the USDA’s Farm Services Agency (FSA) in Florida, and they agree that the widespread damage meets the required threshold and necessitates a disaster declaration for the listed counties.
With this information in mind, we hope you will expedite Florida’s request for a disaster declaration so our agriculture community can begin the long road to recovery from the devastating weather conditions. Thank you for your consideration, and we look forward to working with you throughout this process.