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November 30, 2018

Senator Jones Leads Bipartisan Call for Additional Funds for Hurricane Michael Recovery

Jones calls for additional disaster funding for agriculture

Birmingham, Ala. – U.S. Senator Doug Jones today announced his continued efforts to support Alabamians recovering from Hurricane Michael with a direct appeal to Senate leadership urging support for disaster assistance for Alabama farmers and the state’s agriculture community.  Senator Jones and Senator Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) led the letter and were joined by Senators David Perdue (R-Ga.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), whose states were also affected by hurricanes in September and October.

In their letter to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), the senators wrote, “We believe it is our duty as Members of Congress to step in and assist farmers and others who are in need. We ask that as leaders of the United States Senate you direct this body to work with the House of Representatives to include emergency appropriations for those states affected by Hurricanes Florence and Michael in the next appropriations bill the Senate considers.”

Hurricane Michael caused an estimated $307 million in damages and the loss of more than 2,500 jobs in Alabama. The combined losses from Hurricanes Florence and Michael cost other states additional billions in agriculture production and job losses.

“Cotton was ruined during a crucial harvest period, destroying what promised to be a historically high yield. Peanuts, sweet potatoes, and a multitude of other fruits and vegetables that were not yet harvested rotted in the soil. High winds leveled acres of timber stands and pecan trees and demolished poultry, pork, and cattle barns, killing and dispersing animals and livestock,” the letter continued.

Senator Jones has continued to work with federal, state, local leaders, and residents to ensure that Alabama gets the resources it needs to fully recover from this devastating hurricane. He recently visited the Wiregrass region to listen to local farmers to better understand the extent of the damage their crops sustained as well as their unique recovery needs. Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved the State of Alabama’s application for an agricultural disaster declaration, which Senator Jones supported in a letter to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue.

 

Full text of the letter can be found here and below.

 

November 30, 2018

The Honorable Mitch McConnell                                          The Honorable Chuck Schumer
Senate Majority Leader                                                          Senate Minority Leader
317 Russell Senate Office Building                                        322 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510                                                            Washington, DC 20510

 

Dear Majority Leader McConnell and Minority Leader Schumer:

We are writing in support of our farmers, ranchers, producers, and communities that were devastated in the wake of multiple natural disasters in 2018. The destruction we have seen firsthand in our respective states, coupled with the poor overall condition of the farm economy, has demonstrated the clear need for Congress to provide a supplemental disaster appropriations bill immediately.

Hurricanes Florence and Michael made landfall in the Southeast in September and October, respectively, leaving a historic level of destruction from Florida to Virginia. Hurricane Michael caused more than $2.5 billion in losses to Georgia’s agricultural industry, nearly $1.5 billion in agricultural production losses in Florida, and an estimated $307 million in damages and the loss of more than 2,500 jobs in Alabama. Similarly, Hurricanes Florence and Michael are responsible for $1.1 billion worth of destruction to North Carolina’s crops as well as $205 million in agriculture losses in South Carolina. As a result from these disasters, cotton was ruined during a crucial harvest period, destroying what promised to be a historically high yield. Peanuts, sweet potatoes, and a multitude of other fruits and vegetables that were not yet harvested rotted in the soil. High winds leveled acres of timber stands and pecan trees and demolished poultry, pork, and cattle barns, killing and dispersing animals and livestock.

We believe it is our duty as Members of Congress to step in and assist farmers and others who are in need. We ask that as leaders of the United States Senate you direct this body to work with the House of Representatives to include emergency appropriations for those states affected by Hurricanes Florence and Michael in the next appropriations bill the Senate considers.

Sincerely,

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