LABELLE, FL. -- Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner
Charles H. Bronson today applauded U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary
Mike Johanns and the Bush Administration's decision to make an additional
$100 million available to compensate Florida citrus growers who have lost
trees to citrus canker.
The funds come on top of $200 million that USDA made available in December
to compensate growers for losses from the bacterial disease that afflicts
"I want to express my gratitude to Secretary Johanns for responding to the
needs of our growers who have been hit hard by this devastating disease,"
Bronson said. "Since USDA announced in January that eradication of canker
was no longer possible, Florida citrus growers are understandably anxious
to know the procedures they will have to implement to sustain citrus
production. While I know there are more questions than answers right now,
I have given the Secretary Johanns my personal commitment to make all
resources of the Department available to USDA so that this information can
be provided to our growers as quickly as possible. I am sure that the
Secretary's announcement will provide many in our citrus community with
some much needed relief and reassurance."
Bronson reiterated his commitment to homeowners who have lost citrus trees
to canker, saying he will seek funding from the Florida Legislature this
spring to reimburse homeowners whose trees have been destroyed.