WASHINGTON—Representatives Scott Franklin (FL-15) and Darren Soto (FL-09) led a letter joined by 15 Florida colleagues urging Appropriations Committee leaders to provide disaster relief funding for our state’s citrus industry following widespread damage inflicted by Hurricane Ian.

Hurricane Ian impacted 375,302 acres of Florida citrus when it made landfall in October, totaling more than 90 percent of all citrus production in the state. Growers suffered a variety of damage including fruit loss, foliage loss, standing water, and toppled trees. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services estimated losses to citrus production from Hurricane Ian will be between $416 million to $675 million. These figures do not include additional damage caused by Hurricane Nicole’s subsequent landfall in November. The Florida citrus industry generates $6.8 billion in annual revenue and supports 33,000 jobs, making it a key economic driver for the state.

“The Florida citrus industry is the pride of our state and the backbone of many of our rural communities,” said Rep. Franklin. “Our growers already face a number of challenges including disease, unfair trade imbalances, and loss of acreage. Despite these threats, they have shown remarkable resilience. While our state is no stranger to the destruction of hurricanes, our growers were some of the hardest hit and now face a dire threat to their industry’s very existence. Our Florida economy and our national citrus industry demand our full support.”

“After Hurricane Ian, we saw our growers in Central Florida struggle with losses and water damage,” said Rep. Soto. “As we know, citrus and agriculture in Florida are major drivers of our economy, so we must work together to ensure it stays that way. I hope leaders of the Appropriations Committee support these critical industries.” 

The co-signers sent the letter to Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Ranking Member Kay Granger (R-TX) requesting supplemental disaster aid. As the committee responsible for regulating government expenditures, the Committee on Appropriations oversees supplemental disaster funding requests.

Additional co-signers include: Reps. Kat Cammack (FL-03), Michael Waltz (FL-06), Bill Posey (FL-08), Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick (FL-20), Byron Donalds (FL-19), Maria Elvira Salazar (FL-27), Brian Mast (FL-18), Carlos Gimenez (FL-26), Vern Buchanan (FL-16), Gus Bilirakis (FL-12), Val Demings (FL-10), W. Gregory Steube (FL-17), Al Lawson (FL-05), Neal P. Dunn M.D. (FL-02), and Kathy Castor (FL-14).

A full copy of the letter can be accessed by clicking here.