Farmers and ranchers are breathing sighs of relief, the state’s Agriculture Commissioner said
By Diego Flammini
A major storm that threatened Florida’s ag industry caused minimal damage to crops in the state.
Hurricane Dorian’s high winds caused grapefruit losses in the Indian River area, while farms in surrounding communities haven’t reported any damage.
“I’ve received ‘no impact’ reports from seven of Florida’s (12) Atlantic coast counties, which is great news,” Christa Court, director of the Economic Impact Analysis Program at the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, said in a university blog post yesterday.
Of the 12 counties, only Palm Beach County reported damage and losses at a hydroponic greens operation, Court said.
Agribusinesses made it through the storm without any damage as well.
Gladstone Land, a real estate investment trust that specializes in purchasing farms and leasing them to producers, owns more than 10,000 acres of farmland in Florida.
The organization is thankful the storm wasn’t worse.
“We have spoken to our tenant-partners across the state who reported no crop losses or property damage,” Bill Frisbie, managing director of Gladstone Land, said in a statement yesterday. “We are grateful to have come out unscathed, given the strength of this historic storm.”
State officials echoed Gladstone’s sentiments.
“Everybody seems to have managed to have little to no damage,” Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried said, WJCT reported. “We dodged a big one here.”
Farmers and ranchers are breathing “a sigh of relief that this one didn’t hit us,” she added.
Not all American farmers are out of Dorian’s path, however.
The storm moved north and made landfall in North Carolina on Friday.
Farmers are now facing hurricane damage for the third consecutive year.
Hurricane Florence last year “was devastating for us. We lost everything. All our crops were destroyed,” Jody Clemmons, a farmer from Brunswick County, told CNBC. “It’s hard to overcome that in one year. We had a good start this year, but here we are with another storm. This is now three years in a row of hurricanes.” The first in the list was Hurricane Matthew in 2016.
Farms.com has reached to farmers and ag officials in Florida and North Carolina for comment.