TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — As state and federal officials continue to survey the devastation of last week’s deadly Hurricane Ian, members of Florida’s dairy industry work to repair damages, tally losses and resume business.
“In Florida, the aftermath of Hurricane Ian left flooding and destruction across many areas of the state. As such, milk handlers have indicated that a few farms were heavily damaged, with one losing as many as 250 cows in the storm, (while) others continue to operate effectively after minor damages,” Dairy Market News notes in this week’s Eastern U.S. Fluid Milk and Cream report, adding that as of Wednesday, farm milk pickups and restocking of milk at grocery stores were severely limited in some areas.
Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) reports one of its family farms experienced “pretty significant” damage and loss of cows, and the cooperative is working to help connect the farm to applicable state and local resources as well as supporting it through the DFA Cares Foundation.
“Our DFA field staff have responded to any on-farm issues and are ensuring that our family farm-owners are safe,”
DFA says. “Our plants in the affected areas were able to get milk before the storm hit, so they were able to process and then shut things down in order to minimize employees being on-site. All of our plants in this area are currently back up and running.”
Dakin Dairy Farms in Myakka City, Florida, earlier this week announced on its Facebook page that it lost more than 200 cows with numbers rising. While reaching out to the community for rebuilding support, the dairy also has volunteered its cafe as a donation hub for others in need of supplies such as batteries, flashlights, gas, propane, food, water, personal items, bedding and other needs.
On Wednesday, President Biden and FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell surveyed heavily damaged areas and met with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and response officials about ongoing efforts to help survivors and hard-hit communities. According to FEMA, more than 3,800 people and 200 pets have been rescued by state and federal teams.
Also Wednesday, DeSantis activated the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program, making $50 million available — at least $10 million of which must go to small businesses that are agricultural producers impacted by Hurricane Ian in impacted counties. CMN