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U.S. Department of Agriculture Headquarters

Washington, D.C.

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Well, thank you, Mr. Secretary.  And thank you all for your efforts every day in the midst of the response to Hurricane Michael.

President Trump has taken decisive action to make sure that the full resources of the federal government are available to the people in Florida, in Georgia, and the Carolinas that have been impacted by this historic storm.

Obviously, we are focused at this moment on search and rescue — focused on human life.  But the commitment to rebuild and recover affects our coastline and our inland.  It affects our cities and our farms.

And U.S. Department of Agriculture will play a critical role helping this vital agriculture area of Florida and Georgia and the Carolinas, be able to recover.  And we’re grateful for that.

President Trump has already signed emergency declarations for Florida and Georgia today.  And I want to assure the American people that our entire administration will continue to deploy the manpower and resources to the region to help those in need and to bring these communities all the way back.

As we speak, Mr. Secretary, some 600,000 people in Florida, Georgia, and Alabama are out of power.  FEMA is working very closely with other federal agencies on the ground, and of course, with the strong efforts of state and local officials.  And I’m looking forward to hearing a briefing from Commissioner Black in Georgia and Commissioner Putnam in Florida about the status of agricultural impacts in those states.

But I want to assure all those looking on that we’re going to continue this government-wide effort to help Americans in the city and on the farm have the resources that they need — the support that they need at every level to recover.

Our message to all of those impacted is from the heart of the American people, we are with you.  We will stay with you.  Not only to go through the immediate aftermath of this storm, but also until these communities — including the agriculture communities — recover, and are bigger and better and stronger than ever before.

So, Mr. Secretary, I want to thank you.  I want to thank all of the team of more than 100,000 Americans who serve in the USDA around the country.  You’re team deployed to the region today is coming alongside family farms impacted by this historic storm.  For all that you’re doing, and to tell you that you have our full support.