Hurricane Irma wreaked havoc on Florida in early September, hitting the state’s agriculture economy especially hard. Ricky Telg, Professor of Agricultural Education and Communication at the University of Florida in Gainesville, says the damage is still being tallied up over a month later.
Damages to the Florida cattle industry total $230 million dollars. The Florida dairy industry damage estimates are $12 million dollars. Irma hit agriculture all across the state, while damages were especially bad in central and southern Florida.
Citrus growers have bounced back from hurricane damage in the past. However, they were hit by a double-whammy of Irma and citrus greening, which will make recovery even more challenging.
Citrus-greening is a bacterial disease that can affect a tree’s productivity, causing it to produce smaller and discolored fruit that could drop prematurely from trees.
Overall, the timing couldn’t have been worse for the Florida citrus industry.
Citrus losses are estimated at $761 million dollars.
Telg said the trickle-down effect of the economic loss will be felt throughout all of Florida’s rural communities.