October 5, 2000
Crawford Seeks Federal Assistance For Dade County Farmers Hit By Flooding
TALLAHASSEE – Florida Agriculture Commissioner Bob Crawford today set in motion a request for an agricultural disaster declaration that will trigger federal assistance for Miami-Dade County farmers who have suffered an estimated $500 million in crop losses in association with extreme rainfall and flooding.
Governor Jeb Bush had earlier authorized emergency assistance for citizens in the area by Executive Order 297.
Crawford detailed the agricultural losses in a letter to Governor Bush, asking that he also seek the agriculture disaster declaration from USDA Secretary Dan Glickman that would qualify farmers in Miami-Dade and contiguous counties for Federal financial assistance.
An estimated 14-15 inches of rain fell over the Dade agriculture area in less than a 48-hour period on October 3-4.
"Our growers in Dade County have been struck a severe blow at the very beginning of the planting period for the winter vegetable season," Crawford said. "Our tropical fruit and nursery industry has once again been severely flooded. We must explore all avenues to help them recover and resume their important role of supplying the American consumers with their fresh winter fruits and vegetable."
Preliminary reports indicate that Dade suffered losses of more than $55 million in vegetables, more than $60 million in tropical fruit, more $397 million in ornamental crops as well as almost $100,000 in aquaculture.
Flood waters have covered about 40,000 agricultural acres in Dade County, and it may be several weeks before the full extent of the damage is determined, Crawford said.