$380m Hurricane Michael relief fund announced for Florida timber industry

1 June 2020

Florida is the first ever to receive a state timber grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

“The signing of this agreement has been long-awaited and is a positive step forward for Florida’s timber producers,” said Florida state agricultural commissioner Nikki Fried.

“We worked closely with the USDA for nearly a year to secure this relief for our timber industry, which has continued to show extraordinary resilience through wildfires, drought, and other challenges. With this agreement signed, our Florida Forest Service will be working with timber producers to get checks in hand and trees in the ground and help Florida’s farmers repair and rebuild irrigation infrastructure. Thank you to Secretary Perdue for helping put Florida’s $25 billion timber industry first.”

The timber industry in Florida suffered an estimated $1.3b loss from Hurricane Michael. It has been reported that the cost of clearing downed timber from the 2018 hurricane can exceed $2,000 per acre. Roughly 550 million trees were damaged or destroyed. The agreement will allow the Florida Forest Service to work with landowners, famers and timber producers in the affected areas to survey and inspect damages and losses.

“Florida’s forests support thousands of jobs and are critical to the Florida Panhandle’s economy and ecology,” said Erin Albury, state forester and director of the Florida Forest Service. “We will work closely with our state’s Panhandle timber producers and forest landowners to help deliver the assistance for which they’ve waited for nearly two years.”