TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Monday that nearly $13 million has been awarded through the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan for agricultural producers.

More than 70 applications have been approved from farmers in Gulf, Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Okaloosa, Wakulla, Walton and Washington counties.

“We remain committed to utilizing all available resources to help Floridians continuing to recover from the devastation left by Hurricane Michael,” said Governor DeSantis. “I’m glad that farmers in the Florida Panhandle were able to utilize the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan to prepare for the upcoming growing season.”

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) currently administers the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program with the Florida Small Business Development Center Network and Florida First Capital Finance Corporation to provide cash flow to businesses damaged by a disaster. The short-term, interest-free loans help bridge the gap between the time damage is incurred and when a producer secures other financial resources, including payment of crop insurance claims or federal disaster recovery appropriations.

“We applaud Governor DeSantis’ leadership in making the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan available to agricultural producers preparing for the upcoming growing season,” said DEO Executive Director Ken Lawson. “Hurricane Michael had devastating impacts on this industry and we appreciate our partners at the Florida Small Business Development Center Network and Florida First Capital Finance Corporation for helping us connect farmers with this resource. We are committed to continuing to invest in the Panhandle to help these communities recover and grow.”

For more information on the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan for agricultural producers, visit FloridaDisasterLoan.org.