JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Florida Secretary Thomas Vilsack has declared federal disaster aid available for local potato farmers, according to a United States Department of Agriculture press release.
Potato farms in Putnam and St. Johns counties were damaged due to various weather disasters in May of 2013 such as flooding, hail, lightening and tornadoes. The weather wiped out roughly two-thirds of the local crops.
The loss due to the storms could add up to $45 million in lost revenues.
"It's critical that they receive immediate assistance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture so they can quickly and fully recover," Senator Bill Nelson said.
There were sufficient losses to warrant a Secretarial natural disaster designation, according to the USDA release. Vilsack said, "Therefore, I am designating Putnam and St. Johns Counties, Florida, as primary natural disaster areas.
The assistance includes Farm Service Agency emergency loans. Farmers in the counties have up to 8 months from the date of a secretarial disaster to apply for the emergency loans.
First Coast News