Last Call for 8.6.20 — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics

LAST CALL FEATURED IMAGE GRAPHICS 3.20
A digest of the day's politics and policy while the bartender refreshes your drink.

Last Call — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics.

First Shot

Florida’s agriculture industry has been reeling from the effects of COVID-19 — the pandemic has been stunting harvesting operations, and restaurant closures have stripped farms of some of their most reliable buyers.

As the struggle continues, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried reminded farmers to get USDA crop insurance while they still can.

“With COVID-19 causing significant losses for produce growers, I’m encouraging all eligible producers to stay informed, check their current coverage status, and apply for new crop insurance before the deadlines,” Fried said Thursday. “I appreciate the Risk Management Agency making available new crop insurance options to help Florida’s growers continue producing the world’s best seasonal produce and specialty crops.”

The USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA) program was recently expanded with the addition of a new Production and Revenue History (PRH) crop insurance program for Florida strawberry growers in the 2021 crop year.

“This new program for strawberries will give specialty crop producers more insurance options,” said Davina Lee, Director of the RMA’s Valdosta regional office. “Specialty crops are a priority at RMA, and we continue to communicate with producers and other interested parties to identify where there is a need to expand the availability of risk management products to producers.”

Growers may select a choice of yield or one of two revenue plans and receive individualized coverage based on producers’ personal yield and revenue histories. This PRH program will be available to strawberry growers in Hardee, Hillsborough, Manatee, and Polk counties. The sales closing date for this program is Aug. 31.

For cabbage growers, the deadline is Aug. 15. Growers in Alachua, Flagler, Hillsborough, Manatee, Putnam and St. Johns counties are eligible to apply.

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It’s back-to-school season, and in some parts of the state, that means students will soon be on school campuses after finishing out the 2019-20 school year online.

U.S. Sugar is helping thousands of K-12 students make the transition by donating backpacks filled with school supplies.

The company announced Thursday that it was donating 3,500 backpacks to students in Hendry, Glades and Martin counties. The give follows the company’s donation of 5,000 filled backpacks to students in western Palm Beach County

“Every young student in our region will be trying to get back into the rhythm of a new school year, so we’re pleased to help get them get off to a solid start with a backpack full of school supplies,” said Brannan Thomas, U.S. Sugar’s community relations manager.

In addition to supplies, each backpack includes card explaining COVID-19 precautions based on CDC recommendations such as wearing protective face coverings, frequent hand-washing and social distancing for students.

“We appreciate U.S. Sugar’s thoughtful donation and willingness to give back to our communities, especially during this difficult time for teachers, students and parents,” said Melissa Whitehead Carter, principal of Central Elementary in Clewiston. “Parents in our community will be happy to have one less expense in preparing their children to get back to school this year.”

Hope Rural School director Sister Elizabeth Dunn added, “Papers, pencils and a new pack may seem like small items to many of us, but when you’re out of work and just trying to make ends meet, they can seem like the greatest luxury.”

Coronavirus Numbers

Positive cases:

— 504,768 FL residents (+7,587 since Wednesday)

— 5,621 Non-FL residents (+63 since DAY)

Origin:

— 3,877 Travel related

— 144,955 Contact with a confirmed case

— 3,947 Both

— 351,989 Under investigation

Hospitalizations:

— 29,131 in FL

Deaths:

— 7,871 in FL

Unemployment Numbers

As of Wednesday:

Total claims: 3,481,491

— Confirmed unique claims: 3,300,719

— Claim verification queue: 70,900

— Claims processed: 1,930,393

— Claims paid: 1,838,956 (+10,412 since Tuesday)

Total paid out: $13 billion (+$130 million since Tuesday)

Evening Reads

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine tests positive for coronavirus ahead of Trump visit” via Axios

Gov. DeSantis lifts travel restrictions on New Yorkers” via Jim Turner of News Service of Florida

DeSantis responds to Rick Scott: ‘Why would you have paid the $77 million?’” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics

Randy Fine gives thanks for support during virus fight” via News Service of Florida

Jacksonville cop commander dies from coronavirus as cases continue to mount” via Drew Dixon of Florida Politics

Orange County confirms 25 new COVID-19 deaths” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics

Pinellas County’s COVID-19 positivity rate plummets below 5%” via Janelle Irwin of Florida Politics

South Florida COVID-19 death toll craters after surging for three straight days” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics

Why is the Governor leaving important environmental posts unfilled?” via Craig Pittman of The Florida Phoenix

Debbie Mucarsel-Powell sounds urgent alarm on climate change” via Spencer Fordin of Florida Politics

Democrats spurn decision to contract with Deloitte again” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics

CD 5 candidate Gary Adler has Election Day court date” via Peter Schorsch of Florida Politics

Quote of the Day

“I think the order would apply to all folks who lost their jobs in this period and obviously would apply to anyone that is either been ill or had a family member ill. So I think it covers the core group of people that we’re looking to protect. At the same time, if you had no effects on it and you’re still working and everything, then you gotta meet your obligations just like another Floridian would.” — Gov. Ron DeSantis, on the narrower scope of his eviction moratorium extension.

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