The 2018 hurricanes cost several southeastern growers millions of dollars in lost production. Now, those growers are looking for federal dollars to help them recoup their losses from hurricanes like Florence and Michael. However, according to Robert Redding, an agricultural lobbyist in Washington, D.C., grants on the state level are imperative for vegetable and specialty crop growers.
Redding believes growers will see another Wildfires and Hurricanes Indemnity Program on the federal level. While this may provide relief for some growers impacted by the storms, others will be left out due to the crop insurance requirements. “Crop insurance is not as strong in the specialty crop area, and we had several fall vegetables and pecans that were hit hard in all the southeastern states,” Redding explains. “They really need a state block grant similar to what Florida citrus got in 2017.”
Block grants on the state level are where most growers will find relief, believes Redding. He says producer groups can work directly with their state department of agriculture to work out a program in which growers can receive funds.
Redding adds that an important point to remember with the state block grants is the programs need to be coordinated through both the state’s department of agriculture and the Farm Service Agency. “It’s important for all these pieces to work together,” Redding says.
Hear Redding’s comments:
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