Florida timber farmers get $380 million in grants

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried says about 550 million trees were damaged or destroyed during Hurricane Michael. (WJHG/WECP)
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WJHG) -- Timber farmers impacted by Hurricane Michael are getting a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried announced Friday the department has allocated $380.7 million in federal block grant funding for farmers devastated by Hurricane Michael.

The application process for timber producers to get the grant money will be finalized in the next few weeks.

“This funding is a huge victory for Florida’s timber producers. Since January, we’ve been working closely with USDA to secure relief for our timber industry, whose resilience in the year following Hurricane Michael has been extraordinary,” Fried said. “In the coming weeks, our priority will be moving this funding forward, so that timber producers can have checks in hand and trees in the ground.”

Fried says timber is the leading industry in the Florida panhandle and lost $1.3 billion in crops after Hurricane Michael. She says about 550 million trees, weighing 72 million tons were damaged or destroyed by the storm.

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