Gov. Ron DeSantis awarded the first small business emergency “bridge loan” for agriculture producers post-Hurricane Michael.
The first Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan will go to John P. Jordan Farm in Bascom, Jackson County.
“We are so grateful to Governor DeSantis for activating the Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan for the upcoming growing season,” said proprietors John and Cindy Jordan in a statement. “We also want to thank the farmers and the community of Jackson County for advocating for this program.”
DeSantis said the loan should help keep the agriculture economy going even in the wake of the historic Category 5 Hurricane.
“Hurricane Michael decimated crops and left long-lasting impacts across Northwest Florida,” he said. “Assisting farmers as they prepare for the upcoming growing season is a critical step in ensuring future resiliency for Floridians. This loan is part of the process to helping agricultural producers get back on their feet.”
The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity administers the program along with the Florida Small Business Development Center Network and Florida First Capital Finance Corp.
The loans are interest-free but must be paid back. The service is available to agricultural producers located in designated disaster areas that experienced physical or economic damages or both as a result of Hurricane Michael.
“We are ready to continue working with Governor DeSantis to help with ongoing recovery efforts in the Florida Panhandle,” said Ken Lawson, DEO Executive Director. “The Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan allows farmers who were impacted by Hurricane Michael prepare for the upcoming growing seasons.”
Lawmakers welcomed the tool being used to sustain farms even after Michael damaged fields and killed crops.
“We are so fortunate to have a Governor who is looking out for our farmers,” said state Sen. George Gainer, a Panama City Republican. “This is a great program to help get their crops in the ground immediately and expedite the recovery process of the damage done from Hurricane Michael.”
John P. Jordan Farm has operated in Bascom since 2002. The company distributes cotton and peanuts throughout Florida and Georgia. “This loan will help us restore our crops and create a more resilient farm land,” the Jordans said.