The good news was delivered by Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has noted that he has received more than $ 77 million in assistance in 2017's Hurricane Irma.
The bad news was delivered by Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, who warned that citrus greening and the Trump Administration's proposed new Mexico trade treaty remains urgent issues for Florida's citrus industry, which employs 45,000 people and provides an economic impact of $ 8.6 billion, according to the State's Department of Citrus.
The North American Free Trade Agreement [NAFTA] allowed Mexico to engage in "unacceptable dumping that has threatened our fruits and vegetables," Fried said during her keynote address Thursday at the Florida Citrus Industry [FCI] Annual Conference at Bonita Springs.
But the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement [USMCA] negotiated by the Trump Administration and being debated in Congress by Florida growers for the past year, she said.
Citing the nearly 700 citrus industry representatives and attending the FCI's annual conclave.
Fried the state can not support the USMCA without importing and exporting the fruits and vegetables from other countries.
Florida's Congressional Delegation is "standing strong and firm with us" in opposition, she said.
Fried said citrus greening will remain a challenge, especially if the federal government does not sacrifice its efforts in screening fruits and vegetables from nations like South Africa and Brazil, which would be a risk of infecting domestic produce with viruses and diseases, which would be permitted under the proposed USMCA.
They said they were classified as "safe."
"It's that 5 percent that destroys my agriculture industry," Fried said. "We're going to say no to this, thank you. Take your imports elsewhere. "
DeSantis, who addressed the FCI during a luncheon earlier Thursday, said he would lobby President Donald Trump to add more safeguards to Florida growers in the USMCA and to notify the expense of American farmers and consumers.
"Now's not the time to bring risk in South Africa that may have a problem with pests and diseases," he said.
Numbers released Tuesday by the U.S. Florida's 2018-19 citrus growing season, but show the state's orange growers will produce more than 71 million 90-pound boxes – up close to 59 percent from the 2017-18 crop, which were devastated by Hurricane Irma.
Since taking office in January, DeSantis said the Florida Division of Emergency Management [FDEM] It has more than $ 77 million in Citrus Recovery Block Grant funds for Citrus farmers by Irma, which is over 420,000 acres of citrus groves, resulting in more than $ 760 million in total losses
The Citrus Recovery Block Grant is a $ 340 million federal grant administered by FDEM to assist citrus producers who suffer from citrus crop damage and citrus crop damage as a result of Hurricane Irma, the governor's office.
"I'm hoping this relief will help," DeSantis said. "We are in a much better position now than a year ago, and let's keep momentum going."
DeSantis told growers he'll continue to press FDEM Director Jared Moskowitz to get the money back to citrus growers as quickly as possible.
"Obviously, it's an important industry for the state and we want to do everything we can," he said, praising Moskowitz for helping expedite payments.
"When I took over the FDEM director, Florida's broken program was broken," Moskowitz said in a statement. Governor DeSantis made it a top priority to get this program back on track. "