TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services Nikki Fried, an independently-elected member of the Florida Cabinet, visited Lipman Farms in LaBelle, where she announced her request of a U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretarial Disaster Designation for 17 Florida counties impacted last month by Hurricane Ian.
The 17 counties include: Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Pinellas, Polk, Sarasota, and Seminole.
Her letter was addressed to Farm Services Administration State Executive Director Deborah Tannenbaum, and noted that while FDACS continues working with our partners as well as stakeholders on a full and complete assessment of damage and loss to the state’s agriculture industry, preliminary data have already determined that these counties meet the USDA required 30% production loss threshold of at least one crop, for Secretarial Disaster Designation eligibility.
Hurricane Ian covered more than 4 million acres of Florida farmland, damaging produce, fruit trees, nurseries, and livestock. Industries sustaining substantial losses include but are not limited to dairy, honey bees, horticulture, aquaculture, and other crops.
Agriculture is Florida’s second largest economic driver with nearly $150 billion in economic impact and 47,500 farms supporting more than 2.4 million jobs.