Rooney Calls on Congress to Save Florida’s Citrus
Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Rooney issued the following statement in response to the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) latest request to Congress for emergency disaster relief funding.
“The Administration has made another proposal to Congress outlining what they need in order to effectively respond to nationwide disasters and storms. Yet again cries for help for Florida’s growers – especially our iconic citrus growers – were ignored,” Rooney said.
“Hurricane Irma hit Florida over two months ago, the losses this storm caused to Florida’s agriculture industry across the entire state are staggering. For the citrus growers, fruit is still dropping off the trees. The trees’ root systems are rotting; there is no telling how badly this will affect the industry’s future and so far Washington has done nothing,” Rooney continued.
“The long-term economic damage caused by this storm could be unprecedented. Florida citrus growers support entire towns in the center of the state. The impact on the businesses and surrounding industries that support or supply citrus growing operations in Florida’s heartland could be catastrophic.”
“The time for Congress to act is now. Do we want to say that orange juice is produced and made in America? Without the inclusion of funds to address citrus crop losses; that is at risk. The threat to the domestic industry is real: oranges imported to Florida, primarily from Brazil and Mexico, are already projected to surpass what is grown in Florida this season. This storm has jeopardized an iconic Florida crop and way of life. Washington must act and provide relief so that generations of family citrus growers can continue to produce, employ, and put Florida-grown orange juice on America’s breakfast tables.”