President Bush Delivers Hurricane Assistance To Florida’s Nursery Growers

The Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association (FNGLA) hailed the announcement that President George W. Bush is directing up to $200 million in U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) assistance to Florida’s nursery growers hit so hard by Hurricanes Charley and Frances. The announcement was made in Florida by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Ann M. Veneman, Florida Governor Jeb Bush, and Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Charles Bronson and Congressman Adam Putnam all of whom were instrumental in securing the nursery relief package with the White House.

During a recent post-hurricane tour of Florida, President Bush publicly committed to helping Florida’s citrus, vegetable and nursery industries. Hurricanes Charley and Frances caused an estimated $530 to 600 million in nursery crop loss and structural damage. The string of hurricanes over the past several weeks has also caused a dramatic drop in nursery plant purchases by homeowners and others. This is having a tremendously adverse impact on nursery growers, their workers and families, as well as horticultural suppliers.

In addition to the $200 million in federal grant assistance, President Bush is providing additional monies to help offset the substantial clean-up costs incurred by Florida’s nursery growers. Details are being finalized as to the process by which all of these funds will be dispersed to nursery and fern growers whose losses qualify for the program.

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