Florida Needs Support

September 17, 2004 - 10:45

Hurricane Ivan struck the South last week, making it the third major hurricane to hit the Southern United States in a little over a month. This time it went in a little different direction and hit the Mobile, Ala., area, Louisiana, Mississippi and the Florida Panhandle. When it hit the Golf Coast there were winds of about 130 mph, according to the Associated Press (AP) and according to Reuters, Ivan was approximately the size of Texas. There were a number of tornados and inches of rainfall in hours in some places along the path. As of press time, thousands of people were without power and many without homes, and the number of people killed by the hurricane was rising.

Because of the number of hurricanes that have been ravaging through the United States for the past several weeks, the FNGLA is calling for support for all of the green industry segments in the state to help as much as possible with the situation. The association has been working long hours assessing crop losses and structural damage and making political inroads.

FNGLA met with Governor Jeb Bush and arranged for the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and Deputy Secretary to tour FNGLA-member nurseries hit hard. FNGLA has been working hard with Florida's Commissioner of Agriculture Charles Bronson and his staff who have given the industry extraordinary attention and help, according to the FNGLA. FNGLA has identified arbitrary and unacceptable brick walls in several USDA assistance programs, preventing nursery growers from even being eligible — unlike other segments of agriculture. FNGLA has worked to raise the industry's profile and plight in the media. And, FNGLA has been working the phones with key Florida members of Congress.

As a result of these extensive efforts, FNGLA has laid the foundation for nursery inclusion in an emergency package Congress and the White House are now developing.

Though this is a busy time, FNGLA is looking for support on the industry’s behalf to call your local members of Congress to try and get more of an emergency relief fund in place. However, now with Hurricane Ivan hitting Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi, those states are in need as well. Whether or not you were hit, the following is the contact information for the U.S. Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask to be
connected to your Congressman.

There are many people in a number of states that were greatly affected by the hurricanes of the past several weeks. Helping all of those people in all of the states that were hit just may help with the rebuilding process a little bit more.

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