Timber Relief after Hurricane Michael
In late 2019, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) awarded the State of Florida a $380 million grant to help it recover its timber industry in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael – the first timber grant ever awarded to a state by the USDA. The Agricultural Commissioner of Florida, Nikki Fried, enthusiastically welcomed the grant and allowed that the Florida Forest Service had been integral to the agreement negotiations. If your timber-related business was damaged as a result of Hurricane Michael, consult with an experienced insurance claims attorney in the Panama City area today.
Supporting Florida’s Timber Industry
Fried reports that the final agreement had been long anticipated and that it marks an important step forward for timber producers in the State of Florida. She went on to say that the state had worked closely with the USDA for almost a full year to help secure the funds necessary to bolster Florida’s timber industry, which she noted has shown remarkable resilience throughout Hurricane Michael, wildfires, drought, and more. Now that the agreement has been finalized, the Florida Forest Service will begin its work helping farmers repair the infrastructure of their irrigation systems and getting checks into the hands of timber producers, who – in turn – will be planting trees.
The Damage Done
Hurricane Michael’s devastation did not spare Florida’s timber company, which suffered all of the following damage:
- $1.3 billion in financial damages
- 550 million trees were damaged or destroyed – amounting to 72 million tons
The cost of clearing away timber that has been downed by a storm can cost more than $2,000 per acre, which significantly affects the industry’s bottom line.
The financial agreement made with the USDA will allow the Florida Forest Service to move forward with its efforts to survey and inspect the losses and damages suffered by farmers, landowners, and timber producers in those areas affected. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services encourages all affected timber farmers to begin gathering evidence of their losses to submit to the USDA Emergency Forest Restoration Program an application for funds. The director of the Florida Forest Service, Erin Albury, shares that the timber industry supports thousands of jobs and is a critical component of the economy and ecology of the Florida Panhandle. Albury also relays that the Service is committed to working closely with timber producers and owners of forested land to help them obtain the assistance they have needed for almost two years.
An Experienced Panama City Insurance Claims Attorney Can Help
If your timber-related business or forested property was damaged by Hurricane Michael, financial help may be available to you, and the dedicated insurance claims attorneys at Ged Lawyers, LLP, are committed to helping you procure the compensation to which you are entitled. Our legal team serves the Panama City area and all surrounding areas impacted by hurricanes and disasters, and we are on your side. To learn more, please do not hesitate to contact us online or call us at 850-684-4000 today.