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Idalia’s effect on agriculture

Idalia’s effect on agriculture

Farmers and officials are sharing how the storm hit farms

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

Top photo: NASA

Though the brunt of Hurricane Idalia has passed through Georgia and Florida, affected farmers are showing how the storm impacted their operations.

In Jefferson County, Fla., for example, pecan farmer Rick Assad envisions a long road of recovery cleaning up and replanting trees.

“I mean they just laid over like dominoes,” he told WCTV on Sept. 5. “We would start harvesting 30 to 45 days from now, but I don’t know how long it’s going to take to move some of these trees around.”

Elsewhere in Florida, in Live Oak, officials estimate the total damage from the storm will be significant.

Larry Sessions, the city manager of Live Oak, told the Tallahassee Democrat that “millions of chickens” died in the storm and more will be euthanized.

Between that and other damage, the impact on the ag industry will be serious.

“The impact here will be billions of dollars because the infrastructure that these farmers have plus the crops they have in the ground for their livelihood – it’s all affected,” he said.

In Georgia, the Department of Agriculture provided an update on Sept. 1 about observed Idalia damage.

The list includes:

  • Downed field corn,
  • Hay barns, sheds and other facilities torn down,
  • Power outages at livestock, dairy and poultry operations,
  • Pecan crop loss, and
  • Irrigation pivots damaged or turned over.

Tyler Harper, Georgia’s agriculture commissioner, toured damaged areas from a helicopter.

The loss to the state’s pecan industry will be significant, he said.

“We’re probably 50-60% of a loss to this year’s pecan crop,” he said, Atlanta News First reported.

The USDA offers multiple risk management and disaster assistance programs.

A full list of those can be found here.

In addition, any producers who may require mental health support following Hurricane Idalia can find a list of available services here.

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