Clements: Hurricane Michael devastated 11 Florida counties, leaving millions of dollars in damages to the state’s agriculture industry. GB Crawford, Florida Farm Bureau public relations director, says the initial crop damage estimates, more than $150 million, will go up as the recovery advances.
Crawford: The initial estimates that we have place the crop losses to farmers and ranchers at a minimum of $158 million. But, I can assure you that this figure is subject to change as more detailed information becomes available. The final tally will likely be substantially higher.
Clements: The University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences estimates storm damages total $39 million for horticulture, $22 million for peanut crops, $9 million for vegetables and melons and $5 million for field corn. Crawford says farmers are facing rural infrastructure damages as well.
Crawford: The Category 4 winds that hit the area on October 10 also destroyed much of the public service infrastructure in the area. Farm families and other residents have contended with storm-related failures in the power grid and telecommunications connections, along with major disruptions of roadways because of fallen trees and debris.
Clements: Crawford says the recovery process will take time.
Crawford: Florida has been hit by two major storms now within the past 11 months. Recovery from major hurricanes just takes years. Florida Farm Bureau has established an emergency fund to aid farmers and ranchers in the throes of recovery. And for those who wish to donate, we’ve posted information at www.floridafarmbureau.org.
Clements: Micheal Clements, Washington.