Florida growers miss out in relief package

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Carl Collen

BY CARL COLLEN

Florida growers miss out in relief package

US congress passes hurricane relief bill that omits aid for the beleagured Florida citrus industry

Florida growers miss out in relief package

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The Florida citrus industry has been dealt a blow by the news that it has been left out of the US$36bn hurricane relief package that was passed this week by the US congress.

Hurricane Irma tore through the state in September, blowing fruit off trees and, in many cases, uprooting the trees themselves.

As a result, the first USDA forecast of the season pegged the orange crop at 54m cartons, although a Florida Citrus Mutual grower survey predicted that the crop would actually be closer to 31m cartons

The omission came despite the efforts of governor Rick Scott and other senior officials such as agriculture commissioner Adam Putnam.

"We are certainly disappointed, no doubt about it," Michael Sparks of Florida Citrus Mutual told the Herald Tribune.

Florida senators Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio have said that they will introduce additional funding for agriculture in November, a move that, according to Rubio, had the backing of president Donald Trump.

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