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Florida citrus could finally see federal relief money

Lawmakers optimistic about new disaster aid package.
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Published Dec. 18, 2017
Updated Dec. 19, 2017

WASHINGTON – It appears disaster aid for Florida is on the way.

Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, said on Twitter that House leaders have agreed to $81 billion in emergency spending for hurricanes. The package includes $3.8 billion for agriculture losses.

Florida lawmakers in both parties had grown frustrated with a lack of relief money following Hurricane Irma, particularly for the state's citrus industry, which was already hard-hit by greening disease.

Rep. Tom Rooney, a member of the appropriations subcommittee on agriculture, released a statement:

The bill released today fully-funds my request to help Florida farmers recover from the storm, providing a total of $2.6 billion to the U.S. Department of Agriculture to make direct payments to producers who've suffered hurricane-related crop losses this year. This has been a trying time for all of the state's farmers, ranchers, and growers who have been working tirelessly for months to recover from the devastation caused by Irma throughout Florida's Heartland. I am glad to say we finally cleared the first major hurdle by securing this funding in the latest disaster supplemental bill. I am grateful to House Leadership for working with me and all of the industry stakeholders in Florida to support this funding and for their commitment to getting this bill approved before the end of the year."