Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam has released an initial estimate on agriculture damage from Hurricane Irma. The estimate will serve as a baseline for policymakers as they create a disaster relief package for those impacted by the storm. Although these estimates are not final, they are a starting point. The document includes estimates on crop loss and cost of damages. Right now, Commissioner Putnam’s initial estimate shows $760 million worth of damage to the citrus industry. Read his full estimate on citrus damage:
Citrus is Florida’s signature crop, and nearly 60% of all the citrus consumed in the US is produced in the state. While Florida’s citrus crop has been declining over the last decade due to the deadly citrus greening disease, annual sales of citrus still range around $1 billion. Today, a large portion of the citrus industry is concentrated in southwest Florida, which experienced some of the heaviest winds and flooding in mainland Florida.
An estimated 421,176 acres of citrus production were affected by hurricane or tropical storm force winds, with 94,144 acres in Collier and Hendry (Tier I) counties experiencing major hurricane force winds and a projected loss of $2,500 per acre; 254,956 acres in Lee, Brevard, Glades, Charlotte, St. Lucie, Highlands, Indian River, Okeechobee, DeSoto, Hardee, and Osceola (Tier II) counties experiencing hurricane force winds and a projected loss of $1,750 per acre; and 72,076 acres in Polk and Martin (Tier III) counties tropical storm force winds and a loss of
$1,100 per acre. Losses in this industry are reported to be very heavy, with some farms reporting 100% fruit drop. To add insult to injury, many of the state’s citrus trees were just a few weeks from harvest at the time Irma hit. Total losses in this industry are estimated at a value of $760,816,600.
Growers are also reporting heavy infrastructure damage, and there are major concerns of flood- caused tree mortality in the near future. However, there is not enough information to estimate these losses at this time.
Total losses, including crop losses, for citrus producers are estimated to be $760,816,600.
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