Letter to the Hon. Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader and the Hon. Chuck Schumer, Senate Minority Leader - Senator Jones Leads Bipartisan Call for Additional Funds for Hurricane Michael Recovery


Dear Majority Leader McConnell and Minority Leader Schumer:

We are writing in support of our farmers, ranchers, producers, and communities that were devastated in the wake of multiple natural disasters in 2018. The destruction we have seen firsthand in our respective states, coupled with the poor overall condition of the farm economy, has demonstrated the clear need for Congress to provide a supplemental disaster appropriations bill immediately.

Hurricanes Florence and Michael made landfall in the Southeast in September and October, respectively, leaving a historic level of destruction from Florida to Virginia. Hurricane Michael caused more than $2.5 billion in losses to Georgia's agricultural industry, nearly $1.5 billion in agricultural production losses in Florida, and an estimated $307 million in damages and the loss of more than 2,500 jobs in Alabama. Similarly, Hurricanes Florence and Michael are responsible for $1.1 billion worth of destruction to North Carolina's crops as well as $205 million in agriculture losses in South Carolina. As a result from these disasters, cotton was ruined during a crucial harvest period, destroying what promised to be a historically high yield. Peanuts, sweet potatoes, and a multitude of other fruits and vegetables that were not yet harvested rotted in the soil. High winds leveled acres of timber stands and pecan trees and demolished poultry, pork, and cattle barns, killing and dispersing animals and livestock.

We believe it is our duty as Members of Congress to step in and assist farmers and others who are in need. We ask that as leaders of the United States Senate you direct this body to work with the House of Representatives to include emergency appropriations for those states affected by Hurricanes Florence and Michael in the next appropriations bill the Senate considers.