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Carter Secures Critical Assistance for Blueberry Growers in Disaster Aid Bill

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Washington, May 10, 2019 | comments
After months of negotiations, Congressman Earl L. "Buddy" Carter (R-Ga.) secured funding in the disaster aid bill that passed the U.S. House of Representatives today to assist Georgia blueberry growers who were devastated by an unusually harsh freeze.

In 2017, Georgia was expected to produce around 90 million pounds of blueberries, but was drastically reduced to 30 million because of the record setting freeze combined with warm winter weather. This legislation would provide the assistance needed to recover from the devastating losses. Carter has fought to secure this funding for this critical part of the First District's agricultural community for months. 

"Today was a tough vote for me as this bill was certainly far from perfect," said Carter. "I do have concerns with several portions of this disaster package, however, I will always stand with my constituents who critically need assistance. Blueberries are a $1 billion industry for Georgia, and the backbone of many of our rural communities. The loss of this crop isn't only devastating for the growers, but entire local economies. Enough is enough. Crop insurance is not an option in this case and there is nowhere else for these hardworking farmers to turn. There is simply no more time to waste and we need to deliver this assistance."

The Disaster Supplemental Appropriations Act includes more than $3 billion for emergency assistance for hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, wildfires, freezes and other severe weather. This funding specifically includes the Georgia blueberries which were damaged by the devastating freeze in 2017. It also includes funding for areas of Georgia hit by Hurricane Michael in October 2018. 

Additionally, $480 million in funding is designated to help private forest owners restore disaster damaged forests. Georgia is the top forestry state in the country, with a large number of private landowners who take a number of years to take trees to maturity, and this funding is important for their recovery.

The legislation also extends the National Flood Insurance Program through September 30th.  
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