Unfortunately, Florida citrus did not fare well in Hurricane Irma. Lisa Lochridge, public affairs director for the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association, says from the reports that she has received, the largest produce impact was on the citrus industry.
Hurricane Irma brought strong winds that stripped the fruit from many trees and caused major crop loss. Lochridge says uprooted trees did not seem to be as big of an issue, which will be good for growers in the longer term.
Citrus growers are still facing challenges with flooding. “It’s going to take growers a while to get the water pumped out,” Lochridge says.
Based on gathered damage reports, it appears the damage in South Florida was the most severe. As of right now, Lochridge is estimating a 30 to 70 percent crop loss in South Florida.
Another main concern for growers following Hurricane Irma is labor. Labor was already an issue before the storm, and now finding available workers will be more difficult than ever. “Based on my experience after the 2004–2005 hurricanes, it’s going to be difficult to find enough workers to help,” Lochridge concludes.
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