UF/IFAS Okeechobee Extension Service

2004-05 Archived webpage:

Hurricane Recovery

hurricane icon

In 2004 - 2005, Florida's Extension agents  rushed to help those effected by these terrible storms. Many local residents poured out their hearts, souls and wallets to help other in our own community as well as those in other areas.  Below are archived contacts to relief agencies that were helpful at that time - note that some of these links may not work anymore.   

This page archives links and news reports that summarize what our office found to be helpful in times of great need.  We are leaving them up to remember what happened, and in the hopes that we never have the need to use them again....

Page Quick links:  Agency links & contacts    Ag Producer Assistance Links   Federal Disaster assistance   Jeanne Response photos   Archived notes on assistance for growers     Impacts on nurseries & landscapes   Disaster photos    humor

[USDA, Farm Service Agency - Disaster Assistance]. Okeechobee County FSA Contact Information
DHS SealFEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency)

Traditional Castle  US Army Corp of Engineers

SBA(US Small Business Administration) South Florida Water Management District
Welcome to Southeast AgNet.comSoutheast Ag Net  for updated information from grower groups St. Johns River Management District

Natural Resources Conservation Service  USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service

St. Lucie County Extension Service Hurricane Relief Information for Agriculture Growers
Okeechobee County FSA office:    Diane Conway, CED

450 US Hwy 98 N.,   Okeechobee, FL 34972-2303

(863) 763-3345  fax (863) 763-6407

Robert  Brandenburg, Farm Loan Manager  (561) 683-2285

FSA State Web Site 

Go to EDEN for Extension disaster information

Other Agricultural Assistance Links

UF/IFAS Hurricane (Recovery) Tips for Farmers - press release by Yasmin Wallas from the North Florida Research & Education Center - suggestions for vegetable growers, nurseries, row crops, orchards & groves, greenhouses, and livestock

What to report to FEMA:  A check list of information to have on hand before you call FEMA.

Summary of USDA Federal Disaster Assistance for Agricultural Producers, from USDA/ FSA, forwarded from FDACS.  Link to USDA Hurricane relief website.   

University of Florida Disaster Handbook - lots of preparation and recovery information for hurricane victims. 

University of Illinois Extension Disaster Resources webpage - deals primarily with flooding issues.

UF/IFAS District 4 Extension Hurricane Page an inside look at what went on with our Extension agent team.

[USDA, Farm Service Agency - Disaster Assistance]

Federal Disaster Assistance Grants:

Please be advised that Congress and /or the state Legislature must approve these funds before they become available.  To facilitate this process, local Extension offices have helped the local USDA Farm Service Agencies to compile this information and have sent it on to our local lawmakers -  who will request funding from Congress and/or the Legislature.   

Growers suffering a loss should contact their local USDA Farm Service Agency with an estimate of damage to farm structures, equipment and crop losses ASAP.   For a copy of the Natural Disaster Information sheet used by the Okeechobee FSA office, click here

Procedure to obtain assistance grants: complete an submit this form to your local FSA office.  When the date of the commodity sign-up begins, you will be contacted at the address/ phone number that you provided.  An appointment will be made with you, and the application package will be provided to you by the local FSA representative.

At this time, payments for assistance are authorized under Section 32 of the Agricultural Act (8/24/1935) for producers of citrus, vegetables, and nursery crops grown in Florida counties that have received the Presidential Disaster Declaration for Hurricanes Charley, Frances, and Jeanne. See the USDA FSA Disaster Assistance website for details and signup dates.

Discussion continues between Congressional representatives, USDA staff  and the leaders of the Beef and Dairy Industries to obtain a similar tiered reimbursement program for livestock and dairy producers.  We will post similar links and additional information for these agricultural industries on this webpage as soon as it becomes available. 

For maps showing the areas of Florida's Agriculture effected by the 2004 Hurricanes, Click here

wilma Hurricane Wilma: FEMA Disaster Declaration information Click here.


Responding to JEANNE:

Okeechobee Extension, FSA, FDACS & NRCS Staff unloads FEMA water, ice, hand sanitizer, hay, tarps and MREs.  They are being provided for the recovery of local dairy and farm families and their workers. We also want to thank Okeechobee FFA and Everglades Farm Equipment  for the use of a their tractor and fork lift to unload this "materiel".


Good News on Hurricane Relief: Friday, October 08, 2004 11:22 AM

" I just got off of a conference call with Congressman Adam Putnam regarding the passage of a big Hurricane disaster program bill that has passed and it contains $350million dollars for Beef Producers for Hurricane relief.  The 3 programs that are funded are ECP, LAP and EWP. These are the programs we have been encouraging producers to sign up for at their local FSA offices. All the details are forthcoming but the funding has been appropriated.

We owe a huge Thank you to Congressman Putnam, Congressman Young and the entire Delegation from Florida for helping Florida Agriculture. Also the Florida Department of Agriculture and the National Cattlemen's Beef Association were very active in the negotiations for passage of these funds. Please join me in spreading the word on these programs and thank your Congressmen & Women and their staff, Commissioner Bronson and staff and NCBA.

As we get the details of the programs we will be communicating to all producers.  It is a good day for Florida Beef Producers."

Jim Handley - Florida Cattlemen's Association 

Summary of Livestock Listening Session / Tampa / 9-29-04  - email from Livestock Agent Brantley Ivy to Dr. Bob Sand.

Florida Beef Cattle Producers:   Call for Immediate Action  

Moving Forward Together videoMoving Forward Together    from Florida Dept. of Agriculture  and  Consumer Services

Next to tourism, agriculture is Florida's second-largest industry, generating an estimated $62 billion for Florida's economy annually.  Four hurricanes might be able to briefly stall that economic engine, but they can't stop it.

Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne did their best to put Florida's farmers and ranchers out of business.  Generations of hard work were nearly wiped from the face of the earth by their fury.  This foursome gave us their best shot; now it's our turn.

The same dedication that built Florida's farming heritage will also be the catalyst for rebuilding this proud industry.  The men and women of Florida agriculture are up to the challenge.  Florida Agriculture may be down but we're not out, and we're coming back strong.

Rebuilding and replanting will take time.  In the meantime, it is imperative that we let our customers know that, while we may be delayed bringing our goods to market, the Florida products they count on will be back soon. We've invested 15 years in building the "Fresh from Florida" name throughout the United States and abroad, and we want our brand to remain visible during this period of renewal.

That's why we've produced a new public service announcement titled "Moving Forward Together."  You can see a preview of this TV spot in advance of its October statewide debut by clicking on the link at the end of this email. Give it a moment - it will auto-run.

We took it on the chin this year -- four times -- but Florida Agriculture is already on the road to recovery.  Florida's farmers know all about hard work; we'll just work even harder now.  To preview video, go to http://www.florida-agriculture.com/index2.htm  and click on logo.

"After the hurricanes, University of Florida experts urge mosquito control" - press release by Yasmin Wallas

Press releases  from the Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services:  Select 2004 or 2005 for hurricane articles

Impacts on Landscaping, Nurseries

A summary of the Treasure Coast Hurricane Frances Assistance meeting, including contacts and phone numbers  held Thursday September 17, 2004 at the UF Indian River Research and Education Center in Fort Pierce is available by clicking here.  Representatives from the agencies below were invited to make presentations and are available to answer your questions and provide assistance with recovery and relief of crop related damages

USDA Help for Nursery Growers -  see press release from FNGLA.  President George W. Bush is directing up to $200 million in U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) assistance to Florida’s nursery growers hit by Hurricanes Charley and Frances.

Post-Hurricane Considerations for the Commercial Nursery  - UF/IFAS Extension Bulletin ENH-108

Other Hurricane topic related bulletins from UF/IFAS  - landscaping and agricultural production 


2005 Photos of Hurricane Wilma's impact on areas south of Lake Okeechobee - click here

2004:  Photos of the effects of Jeanne on the Treasure Coast- Vero Beach, Okeechobee, Indiantown - click here.

Photos of Frances on the Treasure Coast - click here!

Link to photos of Hurricane Ivan's destruction in the Florida Panhandle - Pensacola News Journal Galleries

Dan Culbert took photos of the damage to DeSoto and Hardee County areas to give an idea of what Charley did to the residents of southwest central Florida:  

Hardee County Agri-Civic Center in Wauchula - behind the County Extension office and  Fairground Exhibit building

Turner Agri-Civic Center, Arcadia. 

This was used as a hurricane evacuation shelter; it had to be evacuated during the storm

Left: this retaining wall has since been pushed down.

Right:  no more sandwiches  from this SubwayTM

left: Citrus fruit was blown off trees in effected areas

Right: One less historic cracker house in Zolfo Springs


left: "Welcome to Wauchula..."

right - Traffic lights are out - treat all intersections as 4-way stops - some people have died in traffic accidents

Our Extension staff in action

more photos of tree damage

Parting thoughts: For some humor and inspiration to aid in recovery, click here

The Florida Cooperative Extension Service - Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer authorized to provide research, educational information, and other services to individuals and institutions that function without regard to race, color, sex, age, handicap, or national origin. Florida Cooperative Extension Service / IFAS / University of Florida. Nick Place, ,Dean  This page is maintained by Dan Culbert  Page hits = 2598+ Hit Counter