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Putnam Calls For Ag Help After Disaster Relief Ignores Farmers’ Plight After Irma

Sugar cane is the dominant crop of Florida's agricultural heartland south of Lake Okeechobee. Photo by Amy Green

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam is calling for help for the state’s farmers who have been left out of federal disaster relief money for Hurricane Irma.

Some say it’s too soon to know the full scope of the hurricane’s impact.

Adam Putnam is calling on Florida’s congressional delegation to support language enabling the federal agriculture department to provide $1.5 billion for farmers.

That’s after Irma damaged some of the state’s top crops, like sugar cane. Hillary Hyslope of the Clewiston Chamber of Commerce says the hurricane flooded many sugar cane fields.

“Our cane got blown down, and just blowing the cane down isn’t necessarily the whole problem. The issue was that it kind of twisted it up a lot, which just makes it hard to harvest and get in there with your machinery.”

Clewiston south of Lake Okeechobee is home to the nation’s largest sugar cane producer.

The hurricane is estimated to have caused losses of more than $2.5 billion for Florida agriculture.

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Amy Green

About Amy Green

Reporter and Producer

Amy Green covers the environment for 90.7 News. She is an award-winning journalist who has worked as a regular contributor for NPR, PEOPLE, Newsweek, The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor and many other top news organizations. Her in-progress book on the Everglades is under contract with Johns ... Read Full Bio »