Florida state officials recently announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has allocated $380.7 million in federal block grant funding for Florida farmers devastated by Hurricane Michael, including direct relief for timber producers.
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will administer the USDA block grants alongside the Florida Division of Emergency Management. Florida secured nearly half of the $800 million in federal block grant funding announced for Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and North Carolina disaster relief programs.
The funds will compensate timber producers for lost value of their crop damaged by Hurricane Michael, helping them clear downed trees and replant. Block grant funding will also help producers repair and replace irrigation infrastructure damage from Hurricane Michael.
Timber is the leading industry in the Florida Panhandle, and suffered a $1.3 billion economic blow from Hurricane Michael. An estimated 550 million trees, weighing 72 million tons, were damaged or destroyed by the massive Category 5 hurricane. Clearing downed timber can cost $2,000 per acre, compounding the crop’s financial loss.