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Carter Secures Disaster Assistance for Blueberry Growers

After months of negotiations, disaster aid secured by Congressman Earl L. "Buddy" Carter (R-Ga.) to assist Georgia blueberry growers who were devastated by unusually harsh freezes is headed to President Trump's desk to be signed into law. 

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. In 2018, blueberry growers faced another freeze and another year of significant losses. This legislation will provide the assistance needed to recover from the devastating losses due to harsh weather in both 2017 and 2018. 

Carter fought to secure funding for this critical part of the First District's agricultural community for months in legislation in both the House and the Senate. 

"I am thrilled this assistance is finally on the way," said Carter. "For too long, real Americans, real Georgians have been suffering because Congress failed to deliver this desperately needed relief. 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. It has taken months of negotiations, but help will be there soon." 

The Disaster Supplemental Appropriations Act has been approved in both chambers of Congress and is now heading to President Trump to be signed into law. 

The legislation 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 freezes in 2017 and 2018. 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.