Florida citrus likely suffered production losses ranging from $147 million to $304 million due to Hurricane Ian, according to the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS). The preliminary assessment was issued Oct. 17 by the UF/IFAS Food and Resource Economics Department.
“This estimate only accounts for production losses, or changes in expected revenues for the current calendar or market year,” said Christa Court, assistant professor in the department. “Citrus, for example, had not yet begun harvesting.”
“Southwest counties that got hit the hardest by Hurricane Ian have remained in rescue and recovery mode. We anticipate our assessments will not be complete for several weeks,” Court said. “Our preliminary estimate is a range, a wide range, to account for many of these unknowns. What isn’t destroyed might have diminished yield or quality, which will not be apparent for weeks or months, and then even more effects can appear in the long term.”
The preliminary assessment noted that damage severity in local areas will depend on the level of fruit drop, damage to branches, and impacts due to heavy precipitation and flooding. It also noted that major flooding events occurred in groves that were outside of the more intense wind speed zones. That flooding could have effects on production that are not yet known.
Production loss estimates don’t include repair or replacement values associated with downed trees, which are expected to be significant in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian. Neither do production loss estimates include damages to infrastructure such as irrigation equipment and buildings.
The assessment estimates that all 375,302 of Florida’s citrus acres were affected by either tropical storm force or hurricane force winds. Of that acreage, approximately 41% experienced Category 4 strength winds.
Total Florida agricultural losses from Hurricane Ian were estimated at $787 million to $1.56 billion in the preliminary assessment. Of five commodity groups assessed, only the vegetables and melons category had more estimated losses than citrus. Vegetable and melon losses were estimated at $208 million to $394 million.
Joining Court as authors of the assessment were Xiaohui Qiao, Bijeta Bijen Saha, Fei He and Kelsey McDaid, all in the UF/IFAS Food and Resource Economics Department.
See the full UF/IFAS preliminary assessment here.
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