Disaster Assistance Bill Passed President
Monday, June 10, 2019
Posted by: Mary Kendall Dixon
GFVGA expresses appreciation to the Georgia Congressional delegation for passing the long-awaited disaster assistance package for victims of natural disasters across the U.S. from 2017 to 2019. Special appreciation is expressed to Senators Johnny Isakson and David Perdue along with Congressmen Sanford Bishop and Austin Scott for their dedicated efforts to continue to push the critically needed disaster funding. In addition, Congressman Buddy Carter’s efforts for the blueberry industry assured growers were covered for crop years 2017 and 2018.
H.R. 2157, the Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act of 2019, passed the House on June 3 and was signed into law by President Trump on June 6. The legislation includes funding to assist farmers in their recovery from Hurricane Michael, which struck Southwest Georgia on Oct. 10, 2018, leaving an estimated $2.5 billion of agricultural damage in Georgia.
The bill, which provides a total of $19.1 billion, includes $3 billion in emergency assistance funding for agricultural producers who suffered losses from 2018 natural disasters. The bill also includes funding for losses to peach and blueberry crops in 2017 due to extreme cold and blueberry crops for additional losses in 2018.
The crop losses from the Hurricane resulted in many farmers having difficulty paying off their 2018 operating loans, and had a ripple effect on businesses and communities supported by agriculture.
On Friday, June 7 U.S. Senator David Perdue (R-GA) joined U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, Governor Brian Kemp, Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black, U.S. Representatives Sanford Bishop and Austin Scott, and more than 150 farmers for a roundtable at Davis Family Farms in Doerun, Georgia. The group discussed the recent signing of critical disaster relief funding and next steps for Georgians impacted by Hurricane Michael.
Participating in the roundtable were a number of fruit and vegetable growers suffering damage from the hurricane. “Hurricane Michael affected hundreds of farmers. Most of our crops were a total loss after the hurricane,” said Dick Minor, owner of Minor Brothers Produce and Chair of the Georgia Vegetable Commission. “We’re so thankful for the hard work of Senator Perdue, Congressman Bishop, Congressman Scott did to get this disaster bill passed. These critical disaster relief funds will not stay in our accounts – they will flow to not only our farmers but everybody involved in our communities here in South Georgia.”
Secretary Perdue said, “This aid will provide much needed support and resources to our producers and farmers here in Georgia. USDA stands ready to work with the state of Georgia to get this aid package implemented in weeks not months, in a fair and efficient way.”
This story includes press releases and statements from Georgia Farm Bureau and the offices of Senator David Perdue, Congressman Sanford Bishop and Austin Scott.